Peter 5: Matthew Flamm: Crain’s New York Business

Have you joined my incredibly non-annoying, once-in-a-while email newsletter?

Thanks, Matthew!
1) Give us a very brief overview of you: What you like to work with, favorite types of stories,
what you’re always on the lookout for, and as important, what you can’t stand.
I cover the media industries–newspapers, magazines, book publishing, television and radio. The business, not the content (no author interviews, program reviews, or profiles of stars). My stories must have a NYC connection. Either the company is based in NYC or is seriously impacting a NYC company. For instance, I’ve written about NJ-based Bauer, publisher of In Touch, because its magazines affect People and Us Weekly. My stories must have reasonably high impact. The subject must be either large enough to have that impact on its own (Time Warner, Viacom, Conde Nast), or iconic in some way (Life magazine, Harper’s Bazaar), or emblematic of something happening in an industry (small book publishers publishing what big publishers overlook).
For my main, upfront stories, I’m looking for significant trends–a loser that’s become a winner, or vice versa. I’m also looking for news. For the items I write for the New York, New York page, I need bits of news that have not been reported anywhere else or gone out in a press release.
I don’t cover awards events, photo ops, or prize announcements. Also, if a story has appeared in the Times or the Journal, we won’t touch it. Don’t even try me, unless you have something so significant to add to what’s been done that it is now a brand new story. You should always let me know if something you’re pitching has run anywhere else, or will run somewhere before my story runs. It’s generally okay (though not preferred) if I’m going to appear on the same day as someone else, but I like to know that in advance. If you’re pitching a news item and it’s already appeared in Keith Kelly’s column, that is not a news item.
2) What can a publicist do to make sure he or she helps you out, and increases his or her chances of coverage with you?
Read Crain’s enough to get an idea of what we cover and how we cover it. Read the upfront stories, At Deadline, and New York, New York. I write for all three sections.
3) What can a publicist do to truly piss you off and guarantee you’ll never cover any of their clients ever again?
Tell me I have an exclusive and then give it to someone else too. (This has never happened to me.)
4) If a publicist wants to pitch you, what should he or she be watching and reading before hand, other than your stuff? What are your favorite things to watch and read outside of your stuff?
Other than the Times and the Journal, I can’t say, there is so much out there.
5) When’s the best time to contact you? The worst times? And how? Email? Fax? Postal Mail? Phone?
Email is the best. If you’ve really got something you think is good and I haven’t responded, you should call me. I get so many emails I skip a lot of them, especially if they look like mass mailings. Best time to call is the morning. Friday afternoon is okay too. Thursday I’m writing, so that’s generally the worst day. I barely look at faxes.

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