Eye On PR  

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MAYO kicks off Year 2001 with a new feature  on its website "Eye On PR" Everything from tricks of the trade to getting on the radar of high-tech editors and industry analysts to making your company newsworthy. Nationally recognized and award-winning writer George S. McQuade III reports on the PR industry. We also featured guest writers.


l-R) Jonathan Friedman, WSJ, Frank Motek, KNX, KTLA-TV,  Jim newton, Deputy Ed., 
Politics and Government, Los Angeles Times speak to PRSA-LA event at Wyndham Hotel.

Explore Southern California’s Changing Media Landscape

By George S. Mc Quade III


Some 60 PR Pros heard a mixed bag when it comes to changing media turf, format and coverage in

Southern California and nationally from Los Angeles.” I could spend more than a couple of minutes in talking about changes at the LA Times, as you all probably know the paper was bought by Tribune last year, and it has change a lot and very little in about the same amount of time,” said Jim Newton, deputy metro editor, politics and government, California Section, Los Angeles Times.”We’ll at KNX Newsradio, nothing new at all,” said anchor/reporter Frank Motek, KNX NewsRadio and KTLA-TV, who drew the loudest audience laugh at the Wyndham BelAge Hotel, Hollywood, Thursday, July 19, 2001. “You really have to look at how we are organized,” Said Jonathan Fried, bureau chief, Wall Street Journal. “We’re still the largest newspaper in the United States, more than USA Today.”


The PRSA-LA workshop focused on the “changing landscape in Southern California” as it relates to the economy, energy crisis, layoffs, drops in advertising revenue – and how all of that affects the relationship between the media and public relations professionals.


“The LA Times has changed a lot and a little, because now there is this direction and influence out of Chicago,” said Newton. “The Times was the leading newspaper in a big newspaper chain prior to the Tribune purchase.  So there’s very little news changes that are being discussed or dictated from outside. The most obvious change has been the California Section. Again, this is an internal shot being called and not from Chicago, but from the team formed internally to change the paper.  We reorganized so that all the bureaus report to one desk, a government and political desk, of which I’m the editor. The notion there is to get more reach to our local coverage and it takes more account of what’s going on in Sacramento. And when we cover Sacramento we turn back to LA, so that we don’t have stories in Sacramento about the political mess there, and make more sense to the people reading the paper here. ”

                         Jim Newton, Los Angeles Times

Newton cited two major examples – Mayo James Hahn’s race and the energy crisis- news coverage of putting the new California Section to the test. “I feel pretty positive about both major stories. The paper has shown a lot of willingness to devote a lot of people and a lot of space for investigative and enterprise

Reporting. We had volumes of stories around both. It is far more than we’ve ever done on the Mayor’s race in recent memory. It’s a long way of saying things are different at the paper and the paper looks different, but without any outside influence.”


At KNX Radio, nothing new, but wait, there’s more says

                      KNX Anchor/Reporter Frank Motek

“We’ll nothing new at KNX Newsradio,” explained Anchor/Reporter Frank Motek, KNX, who also reports on the Tribune-owned TV station KTLA-Ch 5 news at 10:00.   “We’ve had the same general manager for 40 years, same news director 20 years, same news anchors for 100 years,” he joked.  “KNX is unique in that way, we still do news and it’s wonderful. By the way anything I say does not reflect station or management views.”


Public Relations Professionals are still respected in their profession says LA Media

Pro Pros are the best in the business in LA. We appreciate your professional manner and the way they handle themselves.  We want the information quickly, concisely, and we want the best speaker you have, and if we can get them early in a line up at your event all the

better. The reporter might have to go on the air in a matter of minutes.”

“We have good relations and bad relations at the Los Angeles Times with PR Pros,” said Newton.

“”We have good and bad relationships too, but the best advice I have is read the newspaper, and know what to expect. For a while, I was getting calls from kids right out of college, who didn’t understand what they were pitching. Train your people. It makes our job easier and their job easier when they prepare. Do read the Wall Street Journal, and yes, size matters. We don’t do small or private companies.”

  WSJ Bureau Chief Jonathan Friedman

Los Angeles is the editor for several national reporter beats and 
stories at Wall Street Journal says Bureau Chief Jonathan Friedman

“We carry the national beats out of LA for Aerospace/defense, entertainment nationally, hotel, HMO’s and toys with 17 reporters,” said Jonathan Friedman. “We have a global circulation of 12 million, 1.8 million on line and 585 at our WSJ.com. This includes our Asian and Spanish versions. We also partner with CNBC, so you might see me on TV occasionally. Or 30 seconds after we write a story, it may be announced on station. We haven’t had a lot of different owners, we cover technology, financial, the market and economy”

Key issues that get on the radar of KNX, WSJ and Los Angeles Times include breaking news.


“The big economic downturn and whether or not it is flattening out is key to coverage,” said Freidman. “We defining what the future holds by looking at various areas geographically or by industry related issues. California has a phenomenal import/export trade market. We’re also interested in technology, telecommunications, the fiscal state of the state, Governor Gray Davis as he unwinds with the electrical mess.”

“Crime is big, but so is immigration,” noted Motek. “The New York Times broke a story about immigration that we ran on KNX. I received an email form a listener, who said I think you raised the biggest story since December 7, 1941 (Pearl Harbor Day). KNX is also big on business news, and I salute them for give that much time. We have a Business Hour and Technical Hour, and we’re covering everything from the power crisis to the economy. There should be more cover on the power crisis. If this were Florida there would be a mutiny on rates.


Top stories in 2002 will focus on the California’s Governor’s race and the economy says panelists


“The economy will be a very big story,” said Motek. “I worry about the drop in interest rates not impacting, and if you look at Japan, which has been at zero interest rate.”  “Economy will be a top story, but the governor’s race is the big one for the LA Times,” said Newton. “I’m not two optimistic about the economy either, and it will be the big story at Wall Street Journal, “ said Friedman. “We wrote a front-page article on the energy crisis in May last year, when we started with one reporter, and now I’m coordinating with 14 reporters around the country. We stopped trying to write in increments.  It is a complex issue and quite technical, and we try to bring it down to earth. It is one of the hardest stores we do. The Wall Street Journal has already run eight front page stories on electricity.”


Although the news is mostly negative there is room for positive news


“It took us a week to do the story on a dentist, who was putting diamonds and gold in teeth in Montclair, CA, but six months to complete the story on the 150 inch minimum wage worker,” explained Friedman. We break news all the time on mergers and companies. We believe just as many people will read the Wall Street Journal in the future, however many will migrate to the electronic form. We have a mission to keep. We forced people to pay for the online journal from day one, and they’re still buying it.  We do positive stories too.”

“People behave indecently and make the news most negative. And what may be negative news to the losing mayor candidate Antonio Villaraigosa might be great news for Los Angeles’ new Mayor James Hahn,” said LA Times’ Newton.


The Internet has been a great addition to journalist job in TV, Radio and Print


“When we had the Mayor’s debate I went to Yahoo and got all the background I needed to ask

questions, the Internet is wonderful,” said Frank Motek, KNX. “When the Oldsmobile announced the

“Death of the Oldsmobile,” I went to the Internet and found several Oldsmobile clubs for stories.” “We actually got tip off on the dentist putting diamonds in people’s teeth form an email, but I don’t want to give away our trade secrets,” said Wall Street Journal’s Jonathan Friedman. “It has changed the way we all do business.”


“It’s helpful, but it is also slightly risky,” said LA Times Jim Newton. “We received word that a copy of the LA Police Commission report was on the Internet. It becomes complicated, the report might be marked up, although it is directed at the police chief.”


“There is a mudslide of tabloid journalism, more TV than radio,” said Motek. “We still use the six W’s, the sixth being ‘who cares.’ For broadcasting, it has to be interesting or it won’t get aired. The record Coney Island hot dog eater was the lead story on our station, and you have to ask yourself about the guy who won the hot dog eating contest, who cares?  A lot people do. Stay tuned for an update, and the hot dog five part series next week.”              

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Eye On PR Archives:

With So Many “dotgones,” What’s Next For L.A.’s Technology Sector?
Reporters love exclusives.  Except ...
Getting on the Radar of Newswire Editors

Skip Those News Releases, what?

"CBS 60 Minutes Arrives, now what?"

If it bleeds, it leads..the truth about broadcast news

Biotechnology Revolution..Hope or Hype?

Maximize your business media coverage


Taken for a ride: 35 years in Auto Communications


Strategic Navigation tools: Surviving in the Ocean


Getting your news release approved on time!


Increasing media exposure

Old Dogs & New Tricks: Steaming Media, what works


CNN Financial News and KABC-TV offer PR Tips

(**MAYO news releases)