Yesterday we spent the afternoon with Xconomy Chief Correspondent Wade Roush, picking his brain on everything from how to make a pitch stand out amongst thousands, to how and why he uses Twitter, and the now controversial concept of a media embargo.
Wade, a former editor at MIT’s Technology Review, is based out of Xconomy’s Boston office, which is one of three arms of the popular technology and science online news outlet. Xconomy also has offices in Seattle and San Diego.
Wishing your client could shine in the Xconomy spotlight? Here’s the skinny on sending a relevant, eye-grabbing pitch:
Wade describes Xconomy’s coverage as “eclectic” and “hyper-local.” If your client is based in Boston, Seattle or San Diego, you already have their attention. Wade admits its pretty tough to predict what the writers will find interesting, so its best to submit your most compelling story ideas, and the Xconomy staff will either pick up the phone, or shoot you a polite “No thanks.” Wade shares that a perfect Xconomy story will be a “local story with a global significance.”
What exactly makes a story significant? Overall, Xconomy covers news that highlights the evolution or growth of a company. This includes funding and venture capital, the transition from private to public, showing at DEMO, or profiles of start-up companies, inventors or entrepreneurs.
Got that? Three key elements to the perfect Xconomy pitch: one, local company, two, global impact, three, demonstrates company evolution and/or growth.
Chances are if you are pre-pitching big company news, you’ve attached an embargo with the press release. In this ever changing media landscape, now densely populated with blogs breaking news in real time, can you count on Xconomy to respect your embargo?
According to Wade, yes. Wade describes the relationship between reporters and public relations professionals as “mutually beneficial.” He enjoys working with PR agencies, respects embargos and is thrilled to be offered an opportunity to exclusively cover a story.
How does he feel about reporters who refuse to honor embargoes, such as Michael Arrington of Tech Crunch? “Arrington is throwing a wrench in the ecosystem,” Wade says; by not respecting the embargo date, and more importantly, not taking the time to properly research a story.
Wade finds embargos give him additional time to conduct accurate research, hold interviews, and really discover the “meat” of the story.
Wade’s only caveat about embargoes is if you set a date, hold every publication to that same date. Don’t offer a media outlet like the New York Times, the opportunity to cover a story on Monday, while telling all other media outlets the embargo is set for Tuesday. No funny business!
When asked about the stories he enjoys covering the most, Wade shared that his favorites are the pieces that allow him to meet the innovators behind a new product or company. He relishes in the opportunity to tell the story of how this company or product is unique, and where the company is headed in the future. He also delights in the inherent drama built into stories about companies backed by venture capital. Can they make an impact before the money runs out?
Speaking of making an impact, does Xconomy have a bright future in a media scene where new online outlets and blogs emerge each day? With 200,000 unique visitors to the website each month, Xconomy hopes to open more offices across the country in cities like Austin, Washington D.C., New York City, Detroit and Denver or Boulder. The news outlet already has syndication deals with other online-only outlets such as the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, which recently went from print to online-only.
Xconomy is also gaining exposure via Twitter. Although Wade (@wroush) admits that up to this point he hasn’t utilized Twitter to seek sources for his stories, he does frequently post his newest Xconomy articles to Twitter as they appear on the website.
Interestingly, Wade commented that he relies on his Twitter followers as “substitute information gatherers” to provide him with the day’s news, as he often does not have the time to visit the news sites directly himself. Tweet Deck is Wade’s Twitter platform of choice, where he tracks tweets about Xconomy, relevant key words, and hashtags for trending topics or events.
Think your client has the Xconomy X Factor? Shoot Wade an email or tweet to find out!