Lessons in Covering Tragedy with Jordan Mendoza
Jordan Mendoza got his start in journalism as the editor-in-chief for The Daily Titan at Cal State Fullerton, and now he’s a reporter for USA Today. His normal beat is trending content and breaking news for Universal Now, but he was on the scene for the horrific aftermath of the Lunar New Year shooting in Monterey Park. Here, he shares the lessons he learned from covering the tragedy and gives the inside scoop on how reporters gather breaking news.
- How reporters gather trending content stories
- How social media algorithms can affect breaking news
- An inside look at the USA Today newsroom
- Lessons Jordan took from covering the Monterey Park tragedy
1:20 What’s a typical day like for a breaking news/trending content reporter at USA Today?
1:50 How do you get your trending content stories?
2:45 Where do you get the data to see what's trending?
3:25 How to get an exclusive interview
5:20 How algorithms can squash breaking news
7:20 Jordan's coverage of the tragic Monterrey Park shooting
10:00 Jordan’s most vivid memories of the tragedy
11:10 Learning from tragedy
12:50 What makes great sports writers stand out?
15:55 Obligatory Raiders question
16:35 What role do press releases play in breaking news?
18:30 What will journalism look like in 10-15 years?
This episode’s guest:
• Jordan Mendoza
• @Jordan_Mendoza5 on Twitter
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191. PR for the Publisher’s Soul with Shelby Janner of Zilker Media25:10Shelby Janner, Chief Publicity Officer at Zilker Media, is passionate about helping thought leaders and brands share their stories. Over the past 11 years, Shelby has managed publicity campaigns for three New York Times bestselling books and the immensely popular "Chicken Soup for the Soul" series, along with dozens of others. Here, Shelby discusses her work with “Chicken Soup for the Soul,” getting people booked on podcasts, and her personal branding tips.Key Takeaways:- PR in the world of publishing- Personal branding tips- The advantages of micromediaEpisode Timeline:1:30 Does "Chicken Soup for the Soul" really put out ten books a year?3:00 Do some "Chicken Soup" books sell better than others? 4:30 The importance of specific benefits in media5:30 What makes a great pitch?7:30 Promoting books can be a very emotional experience.8:30 The book that surprised Shelby10:30 How Zilker Media is helping people get booked on podcasts13:30 How can people get noticed through micromedia?15:00 Shelby's personal branding tips18:00 Tod needs personal branding help.20:30 The counter-intuitive nature of social mediaThis episode’s guest:• Shelby Janner on LinkedIn• Get booked on a podcast at Podcast Guest InsiderSubscribe and leave a 5-star review:https://pod.link/1496390646Contact Us!• Join the conversation by leaving a comment!• Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn!Thanks for listening!
190. The Art of Authentic Networking with Karen Gamba, Co-Founder of ExV Agency30:59Karen Gamba is a PR, networking, and business strategist as well as the CEO and co-founder of the ExV Agency. With locations in Atlanta, New York, and Hong Kong, ExV Agency creates out-of-the-box digital events, elevated branded narratives, and distinctive visibility campaigns for clients looking to expand their reach, reputation, and revenue. Here, she discusses the importance of authenticity, the challenges of producing unscripted content, and her relationship with business partner Frank Carlisi. Key Takeaways:- The power of authenticity- The problem with producing unscripted content- How to be vulnerable in a professional setting- ExV’s new Grow Your Brand MasterclassEpisode Timeline:1:30 How did ExV get its unique name?4:25 How Karen started the company with Frank Carlisi 8:45 What makes an event innovative? 9:30 The importance of bringing together professionals of different age groups10:45 Pushing the envelope of vulnerability12:00 How to be authentic in a professional setting13:00 Making authentic connections16:10 How Tod gets authentic interviews on PR 36017:30 The perils of creating unscripted television21:30 Handling creative criticism23:20 The lightning-in-a-bottle paradox25:00 ExV’s new webinar Grow Your Brand Masterclass to help emerging business owners navigate the PR worldThis episode’s guest:• Karen Gamba• ExV’s website• Follow Karen on LinkedIn• Learn more about the Grow Your Brand Masterclass Join the conversation by leaving a comment!Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn!
189. Nancy Luong on Opening Communication with Immigrant Parents26:24Nancy Luong is a successful Fortune 500 senior marketer, financial content creator, keynote speaker, university educator, and DEI advocate. Currently, she is a Digital Program Manager at Salesforce and the Leader in Residence at Cal State Long Beach, where she advises students on how to start their careers. A proud first-generation daughter of Vietnamese and Chinese immigrants, Nancy recently became a bestselling author after publishing the “How We Got Here Journal.” Key Takeaways:- How Nancy’s book helps immigrant parents tell their stories- Breaking generational cycles- Why women are rethinking their purpose- Nancy’s advice for college students entering the professional worldEpisode Timeline:1:30 Nancy won Miss Southern California. 2:30 Nancy's book, "How We Got Here"3:45 Are immigrant households reluctant to talk about the past?5:30 Why Nancy’s book is an excuse to have important conversations8:30 How the book helped Nancy understand her parents’ behaviors 11:15 Immigrant parents often have different attachment styles than their children.17:00 Nancy's recent presentation at the New York Public Library20:15 Common topics in Nancy's women's group22:00 Nancy's career advice for graduating students This episode’s guest:• Nancy Luong• Follow Nancy on LinkedIn and InstagramSubscribe and leave a 5-star review: https://pod.link/1496390646Contact Us!• Join the conversation by leaving a comment!• Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn!Thanks for listening!
188. The Crusade Against Commodity Content with Joe Zappa of Sharp Pen Media26:33Joe Zappa is a content marketer, journalist, and academic who has spearheaded content programs for dozens of businesses. As the founder of marketing agency Sharp Pen Media, Joe approaches content and PR through a three-step process of narrative building, editorial planning, and content creation. From 2018 to 2023, he was the editor of Street Fight, a prominent martech trade publication. Prior to that, he earned his BA from Brown and his Ph.D. in comparative literature from Cornell. Here, he discusses his three-stage approach to marketing and PR and how to avoid producing commodity content.Key Takeaways:- The perils of commodity content- The importance of hiring experienced writers- Branding through crusades- Generative AIEpisode Timeline:1:20 How Joe transitioned from a journalist into the martech space2:45 Sharp Pen Media’s bespoke three-stage approach to marketing and PR4:450 The problem with commodity content7:30 Sharp Pen Media’s content8:50 The freelance vs. agency debate11:20 The importance of hiring experienced writers13:50 How algorithms affect content distribution15:30 "Broetry" on LinkedIn17:30 Building a brand's "crusade”22:00 Why are marketers wrong to be obsessing over generative AI?This episode’s guest:• Follow Joe Zappa on LinkedIn or send him your thoughts hereSubscribe and leave a 5-star review: https://pod.link/1496390646Contact Us!• Join the conversation by leaving a comment!• Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn!Thanks for listening!
187. PR for the ‘Little Guy’ with Mickie Kennedy27:30Mickie Kennedy is an expert at helping small businesses, authors, and startups increase their visibility and credibility. He founded eReleases over 22 years ago after realizing that small businesses desperately needed a press release service they could actually afford, with access to the media and to a national newswire—all with a personal touch. His press releases have resulted in articles being published in the Wall Street Journal, CNN, Bloomberg, and many more prestigious news outlets. Here, he discusses how to build credibility through third parties and what smaller companies need to know about PR. Key Takeaways:- What smaller companies need to know about PR- Mickie’s realization he was a micro-manager- The importance of third-party credibility- AI’s role in PREpisode Timeline:1:20 Tod can't get into poetry.2:50 How do you build credibility through PR?4:45 Does published content have to be 100% positive?6:40 How to craft a pitch that cuts through the noise10:15 What doesn't the "little guy" know about PR?14:15 When a client's pitch isn't newsworthy15:30 Mickie was a "hands-on" manager.18:30 Letting the numbers speak for themselves21:00 What will AI's role be in PR?23:00 Mickie’s free masterclassThis episode’s guest:• Mickie Kennedy• Get Mickie’s free masterclassSubscribe and leave a 5-star review:https://pod.link/1496390646Contact Us!• Join the conversation by leaving a comment!• Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn!Thanks for listening!
186. Great Speeches and Communication Tips with Steve Rohr33:22Steve Rohr is a Hollywood publicist, media expert, and author. He served as the Show Publicist for the Academy Awards from 2015 – 2019 and is the founder of Lexicon Public Relations, a boutique entertainment firm representing award-winning actors and recording artists. As a communication expert, Rohr co-authored “Scared Speechless: 9 Ways to Overcome Your Fears and Captivate Your Audience.” Here, he talks about running PR for the Oscars and how to make a great speech—plus, he shares some helpful interpersonal communications tips. Key Takeaways:- What it's like running PR at the Oscars- Steve's thoughts on great public speakers- Gen Z communication styles- Nonverbal communication tipsEpisode Timeline:2:00 What's the ground game like running PR at the Oscars?5:15 Why is the work culture at the Oscars so great?6:45 What makes a good Oscar speech?8:45 Why Viola Davis is a great speaker11:00 What are some of Steve's favorite speeches?12:00 Anne Richards’ DNC speech14:45 What are some ways that Gen Zers can improve their communication styles?15:50 The problem with upspeak18:30 Don't start a sentence with "I mean."22:20 The 80% rule23:45 The importance of presenting a clear message24:45 Nonverbal communication myths and gender styles30:30 How strikes are affecting Hollywood PRThis Episode’s Guest:• Steve Rohr• Follow Steve on InstagramSubscribe and leave a 5-star review:https://pod.link/1496390646Contact Us!• Join the conversation by leaving a comment!• Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn!Thanks for listening!
185. Adding Value as a PR Freelancer with Maria Jordan of Fireflies Management26:11Maria Jordan is the founder of Fireflies Management, a global communications agency that specializes in propelling both established organizations and startups to new heights by evolving and promoting their brands. Over her decade of experience in PR, Maria has successfully collaborated with renowned businesses such as Lamborghini, Wimbledon, and MyHeritage, delivering compelling and tangible results. Here, she talks about the benefits of hiring freelancers, her work to reunite stolen babies with their families, and inserting clients into breaking news.Key Takeaways:- Benefits of hiring freelancers- The power of PR to change lives- Using the news cycle to your advantage- Building a personal brand as a freelancerEpisode Timeline:1:30 What inspired Maria to go freelance?4:30 How the pandemic provided Maria with a great opportunity5:45 Why Tod went freelance6:30 The importance of building a personal brand as a freelancer7:50 Building a personal brand on LinkedIn9:30 Maria's experience working with MyHeritage11:30 How Maria worked with MyHeritage to reunite stolen babies with their birth parents16:45 How Maria secured TV coverage for MyHeritage after the Queen's death21:15 The benefits of hiring PR freelancersThis episode’s guest:• Maria Jordan• Follow Maria and Fireflies Management on LinkedIn Subscribe and leave a 5-star review: https://pod.link/1496390646Contact Us!• Join the conversation by leaving a comment!• Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn!Thanks for listening!
184. The High-Brow, Low-Brow Battle with Funmi Lijadu32:30Funmi Lijadu is a creative communications specialist who loves pop culture. She has both agency and in-house PR experience across a range of sectors, including art, publishing, finance, tech, real estate, and retail. Currently, she's an account executive at MSL in the UK. Recently, she finished her dissertation on a rather compelling topic that compares reality TV with classic literature. Here, she discusses her dissertation and shares the current challenges faced by her PR clients in the UK.Key Takeaways:- The similarities between reality TV and classic literature- Current challenges in the UK PR world- The perils of trying to be everything to everyone- The importance of diversity in the PR worldEpisode Timeline:1:30 What do you want people to learn from your dissertation?4:00 The differences in the US and UK versions of "Love Island"5:00 The novels Funmi included in her dissertation8:30 Romantic themes haven't changed that much over time.9:00 The disgruntled lover trope11:00 How Funmi's research applies to PR13:20 The importance of diversity in the PR world15:00 The Kendall Jenner Pepsi ad16:00 The 15-year-old test17:30 Why do female influencers wear big, floppy hats?19:00 Current challenges in the UK PR world21:30 The danger of being everything to everyone23:20 PR request hashtags25:40 Gen X vs. Millennial high-brow, low-brow battleThis episode’s guest:• Funmi Lijadu• Follow her on LinkedIn and TwitterSubscribe and leave a 5-star review:https://pod.link/1496390646Contact Us!• Join the conversation by leaving a comment!• Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn!Thanks for listening!
183. Disney Magic and DEI Changes with Shawn Smith27:33Shawn Smith has served in senior communications roles with Warner Bros. and The Walt Disney Company, developing multimillion-dollar campaigns for global brands and franchises. She has also served as the global head of communications with Osmo, one of the world’s leading ed-tech companies. Here, she discusses the current state of DEI in PR, the joy of working with iconic IPs, and why she's stepping out on her own.Key Takeaways:- The current state of DEI in the PR world- What it’s like working with powerful IPs- What it was like working with PR legend Pat Tobin- How Shawn helped Minnie Mouse get her star on the Walk of FameEpisode Timeline:1:45 What has been happening in the world of DEI, especially in media, over the past few months?4:10 What's the reason for recent changes in DEI programs?5:40 What do you see as the biggest DEI challenges in the world of PR and communications?7:40 Where should we focus to make the biggest improvements in DEI?9:30 What was it like being a steward for such iconic characters and brands?11:10 Can it be hard dealing with fans?12:15 The character "Bible"15:10 The Minnie Mouse moment16:30 Minnie's star on the Walk of Fame17:30 Disney's Lucasfilm purchase19:10 Shawn's mentor Pat Tobin22:30 Jill Biden’s vaccination campaign24:00 What inspired Shawn to start her own company?This Episode’s Guest:• Shawn Smith from Shawn Smith Communications• Follow Shawn on LinkedInSubscribe and leave a 5-star review:https://pod.link/1496390646Contact Us!• Join the conversation by leaving a comment!• Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn!Thanks for listening!