Disclaimer: Not an actual representation of the Meet the Tech Media panelists
Yesterday morning I had the chance to attend a “Meet the Technology Media” panel session hosted by Business Wire. I’ll be honest, I went in with some pretty low expectations but was pleased with the information I walked away with – and what I’m sharing with you here.
I’ve been to these sorts of events before and often don’t leave feeling I’ve learned that much other than being reminded, yet again, that there are clearly some PR people out there who are really bad at their job.
Panelists for this session included:
- Andrew Feinberg – a freelance journalist who covers federal and state technology and telecom, largely from a legislative view, and has written for The Hill and Communications Daily. (side note – Andrew and I also have the same alma mater – Go, Badgers!)
- Bill Flook – tech journalist with the Washington Business Journal who focuses on the DC tech scene and start-ups.
- Rob Pegoraro – freelance technology writer who spent 18 years at The Washington Post. Rob writes a weekly Q&A column for USA Today and blogs about gadgets and social media for Discovery News. Super smart and funny, Rob is very consumer focused and not someone I would typically be pitching but someone worth knowing.
- Paul Sherman – the well known editor and publisher of Potomac Tech Wire is very interested in the business side of things – new hires, M&A, contract wins and other big company news
- Nick Wakeman – the long time editor-in-chief of Washington Technology focuses on systems integrators, procurement trends and major contracts.
I was interested in this event because these are my people, these are reporters I’m reaching out to on a regular basis and if they had any tips to offer on what they are looking for this was my chance to hear it straight from the horse’s mouth. I can’t say I walked away with knowing the perfect way to pitch them so my clients get their attention but I do feel I have a better understanding of what they want. For the sake of this blog post, I’m going to focus on Bill, Paul and Nick – reporters who are of very high interest to my clients.
Let’s start with Bill.
Bill is very focused on enterprise and consumer tech and specifically focuses on the DC tech start-up scene. He gathers a lot of information from the DC Tech Facebook group. He’s not all that interested in contractors and if you are going to pitch him on acquisitions or contract wins it needs to somehow be connected to DC tech. While he doesn’t cover products and product announcements, he’s open to having a discussion if you can talk about the macro trends, what you’re seeing in the market that drove the launch of a specific product or changes to a product line-up. Focus too much on your product though and you’re toast.
Next up, Paul.
Potomac Tech Wire is really an aggregator of the day’s top news in the DC area and doesn’t publish longer feature pieces. If you’re hoping to be covered you have to have a connection to DC and if the dateline of your press release is outside the greater Washington, DC, area you need to be sure to spell out quickly and easily what the connection to DC is. Additionally, while Paul and the crew at Potomac Tech Wire are fine with receiving event announcements, they don’t have the resources to cover an event and are much more interested in any findings that come out of an event. Like Bill and the Washington Business Journal, Potomac Tech Wire doesn’t cover products.
Last up, Nick.
First things first, you may have noticed that Washington Technology is no longer a print publication and has recently instituted a pay wall for the content on its website. I’m hoping to have more on that development for you soon. As far as coverage in Washington Technology, Nick is very interested in covering the business side of things – and if you can attach dollar values to your news even better. When writing about selling to the federal government, make sure your story discusses trends and would be of interest to others, and not just promotional for you. While he doesn’t get to check Twitter every day, there are a few hashtags that he specifically follows that would be useful to use – including #govcon and #govIT.
So was the Meet the Media session worth it? This time around, I’d say yes, absolutely!
As most of you know, when I'm not engaged in registered lobbyist activities, I consider myself a historian.
So I feel obligated this morning to catalog yesterday's best April Fools gags from the technology sector, in case you might have missed them. I'll also be grading each Fool on the following criteria: 1) Foolhardiness, 2) Foolishness, and 3) Suspected Mr. T pity-ability.
The Legend of Google Maps
The most notorious fool of the day was also one of the best. No doubt you saw the viral video yesterday, but did you know you can actually use "quest mode" in the real Web app? It's awesome for about 25 seconds.
Keurig K-Cup Dinners
Hilarious concept from Think Geek, but a few points off for over-the-top foolishness. The best fools have a sliver of believability, which the donut K-cups sort of do. But taco supreme K-cups? No mi gusta.
Hungry Hungry iPad
Another Think Geek winner, but suffering from the opposite problem: not foolish enough. I honestly believe this will be a real product within sixty days, much as iCADE went from fool to reality in 2011.
You had me at Richard Branson. But adding and quoting Tom Hanks is a fool too far. (Obviously, Hanks is headed underwater with James Cameron.)
Kodak's Kitten Printer
Wait, is Kodak still a company?
It is almost that wonderful time of year again when people dedicate an entire 2.5 weeks of their lives to the NCAA March Madness Basketball tournament. Whether you actually love the sport or you just really want to win your company’s bracket for bragging rights, everyone will be using technology to stay on top of the action. This year, however, easy access will cost you. According to the NCAA website, you will be able to watch all 67 games live, just like last year, but now you’ll have to cough up $3.99.
There are a few ways you can get access to games without paying, however. Looks like anyone who has access to Turner Sports will be able to view games free of charge. CBS will be streaming their games live on the web for free, as well. Otherwise, you’ll have to pay the one-time fee of almost $4 to ensure you don’t miss a shot on your computer, Android or Apple device.
Peter Kafka reprinted this awesome roadmap in his All Things D article (via BTIG’s Rich Greenfield):
- CBS will stream the games airing on the CBS Network throughout the country live on CBSSports.com for free. Consumers will only be able to watch on PCs/Macs, with no tablet/smartphone access.
- TBS, TNT and TruTV will stream the games airing on each network live at TBS.com, TNT.tv and truTV.com for consumers who authenticate their respective MVPD service provider (currently all major MVPDs authenticate these network Web sites, except Time Warner Cable). As with CBS, the games will only be available via PC/Mac (no portability).
- Complete access to March Madness on Demand via PC/Mac, smartphone and tablets with interactive features, regardless of whether you have subscribed to MVPD service, will cost a consumer $3.99 (one-time fee for the whole tournament). Streaming online and across portable devices will be available from the selection show through the championship game.
Aside from watching the game, however, there are other ways to be active in the March Madness craze. Apps/websites such as PlayUp, FanFeedr, and I Can’t Find the Game are just a few that can help.
Still, although it is totally giving in to “the man,” I’ll probably just pay the $3.99.
- Kate N.
Fellow SpeakerBoxer Katie Hanusik
and I tag-teamed the sold-out Digital East 2010
Conference today held in McLean, VA, and I was impressed by how much the event has grown the past few years! It was packed. Standing room only available for some of the sessions and a great representation of the community, both locally and nationally.
Sharing some highlights from a session I attended this afternoon on social media trends in associations and government.
Speakers included: Sybil Walker Barnes
: Director of Social Media, American Institute of ArchitectsSusan Cato
, Senior Director, Web and New Media Strategies, CompTIABob Ellsworth
, Senior Fellow of Technology, Republican National Committee
Moderator: Andrea Rose Baker
, Director of Enterprise 2,0, NavStar, Inc
The first thing that struck me about this panel, is that whether it was intended or not, each of these speakers served as a change agent for their organizations, creating engagement and conversations. Each of them found themselves trying to bridge the gap between structured, closed, traditional communications models, and more current ways of engaging.
Each shared successes and lessons learned that have helped propel their organizations forward. Moderator Andrea Rose Baker kicked things off by asking each panelist to provide one word that best describes their deployment
of social media within their organization: Bob
: STRUGGLE: After joining the RNC, he came to realize he would need to break the mold of "command and control" and strive to accomplish a two-way message with no command nor control of what is being said. Sybil:
LEARNING: Introducing social media and two-way conversations has been challenging to a very traditional association, but the "aha" moment came when they realized they could use these tools as a learning channel, to learn about member companies, clients, as well as their own internal team. Susan
: CHAOS: Her biggest challenge was trying to bring chaos into order. At CompTIA there were plenty of enthusiastic folks ready to engage with members and clients (and in fact there were multiple CompTIA-branded social media sites that had grown organically) but the group needed to ensure there was structure at the same time.
The group became relatively interactive, while still responding to directed questions by the moderator. Some of the observations, which tend to be typical of a more traditional, structured organization:
- Bob described how there was little infrastructure or tools available for communicating beyond what they have always done. They've had to change that. For example, he used to personally communicate to primarily the major networks, but that's not the current landscape. They need to engage the hundreds of influencers and bloggers that report on what they do. They find themselves being the target of non-traditional channels, such as The Daily Show, should things go wrong.
- Susan discussed her challenge with managing their brand amidst other Facebook, LinkedIn and web properties that do not belong to the association, but still manage to be communities of their customers. Her challenge was to find a way to harness the engaged, enthusiastic communities already present online with effective brand management. She had to personally reach into those groups and look to engage or assimilate into her corporate properties. She started with the biggest ones first, and then worked her way down. She also opted not to shut any of them down, as she couldn't risk alienating any of their followers.
- Bob made an observation that in many cases, bloggers and influencers can have more power than traditional media..he has to focus more on grassroots efforts when it makes sense.
- Sybil discussed a lesson learned in the differences between physical and virtual conventions: bloggers can help or hurt you if you don't manage those relationships well. Get bloggers involved early for virtual events to help promote, listen, and engage, and treat them as members of the media when attending in-person conferences.
- All agreed that enterprise 2.0: the term used in this case for internal engagement using social media tools, will be an important new area to fold into a communications plan.
- Andrea discussed the transition from a web-centric world to a social media format for communication, referencing a controversial article from Wired Magazine, The Web Is Dead. Andrea believes the web isn't dead, but rather it has a slow heartbeat, as a strong web property is still important in meeting needs for information. But it can't serve alone as a communications tool.
Unfortunately, there wasn't the focus I was looking for on government engagement, although many of the thought processes hold true for agencies to consider. Thanks to TechMedia
for a great program!Elizabeth Shea (@eliz2shea)