Denise Dubie is a senior editor for NetworkWorld, where she covers a variety of topics including network, systems and applications management software and security information management, IT spending and staffing news. She was part of the Publicity Club of New England tech panel earlier this week, and was kind enough to answer a few questions for us afterwards. For more information on Denise, you can check out some of her stories and follow her on Twitter.
RaceTalk: What did you think of the PubClub panel last night? Was there anything you learned about your colleagues or the PR industry that stood out?
Denise Dubie: The PubClub panel was my first panel actually — in terms of being a panelist and not a moderator. For the most part, I found it very interesting to learn which issues my colleagues are also dealing with and what we’re doing at Network World that varies a bit from the group. The discussion focused more on some of the business issues our publications face and less on our choices in terms of editorial coverage, and that’s an appropriate topic at this time considering the state of many high-tech pubs. I also learned a new term for what we all are experiencing: disintermediation. It’s great to have a word to apply to the fact that content is freely available from so many sources with varying perspectives. Like others on the panel, in today’s publishing enviroment I need to help make Network World’s book and site a destination for a broader audience — and not just cross my fingers and hope readers happen upon our content.
RaceTalk: Was there anything you didn’t get to mention last night about your job or PR that you’d like to add now?
DD: The talk around SEO and driving page views was extremely timely, and one with which I am quite familiar. But I don’t think I was able to expand on what I think also needs to be considered when covering the high-tech industry. For me, being aware of page views is extremely important and I monitor which stories become popular among our readers. But it is also critical that I stay true to my network executive audience — they are an intelligent group and don’t often take kindly to inaccurate, old or biased information. That means stories that get huge page views because they happened to be picked up on another site such as Slashdot, Fark or Digg are great and definitely worth the effort in trying to repeat, but it doesn’t discount or negate the importance of the stories I do on open source network management software, offshoring or IT careers that garner fewer page views. I need to find a balance between driving page views and delivering core-focused and quality content that the Network World audience needs to do their jobs or to plan their careers in IT.
RaceTalk: Do you like using Twitter? What benefits does it offer in terms of getting sources for your articles, story topics, etc?
DD: Twitter was a bit of an adjustment for me. A couple of colleagues suggested I try it earlier this year and I started slow, but now I am on there daily. Typically I keep my personal and professional worlds separate, but I am realizing there is great value in pulling back the curtain a bit and sharing parts of my day online. I sometimes post articles I have written there, but I also note what I am working on from time to time. Generally I get a positive response in direct messages on Twitter or via my corporate e-mail with tips or sources for stories in the works. So far, so good.
RaceTalk: Since you’re reporting across multiple topics, you must hear from a lot of companies. How many pitches do you usually get a day, and how do you sort through them?
DD: Honestly I have no idea how many pitches I get per day, per beat or otherwise. But I am a bit of a fanatic about an organized e-mail in-box so I don’t typically let them accumulate. There are some that require just a quick response that I can answer immediately, some that I may tag to respond to in full later and file in a folder, and others I pass on to the appropriate editor for response or followup. Because I try to read and respond quickly, I don’t appreciate the mysterious or creative pitches. I can see time and energy has been spent on writing them, but I really need just a few facts to decide if/when I will take a briefing. Pitches that say what is happening and when upfront really help me better determine what briefings I should take.
RaceTalk: Do you have a favorite topic to write about, and is there a particular topic that you’re hoping to write about in the future?
DD: I do have multiple beats, each of which I follow very closely and each of which I take extremely seriously in terms of coverage. I don’t play favorites, but the stories I enjoy most lend themselves to any beat. I like to deliver stories that share with readers information that helps them better navigate their job or life in high-tech. The ones that I feel resonate most with my audience are those that demonstrate the challenges network executives face in their jobs and provide actionable information on how to take on those challenges and succeed — despite a tough economy, lack of skilled workers, jobs being outsourced or any of the many hurdles that arise. Basically, if I can cover relevant news in the high-tech industry while also incorporating the human perspective, then I am more than satisfied.
RaceTalk: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
DD: I have been working in high-tech publishing since 1996, and the industry has and continues to change dramatically from what it was when I started. Trade press faces many new challenges today. We have to cover more news with fewer resources and we have to strike a balance between hard news and analysis as well as big-picture trend stories and opinion pieces for our readers. We also have the opportunity to continue to offer value to an audience that seems hungrier for news on a more immediate basis than ever before. One thing is certain: there are no slow news days anymore!