Reporter Sound Off: Q&A with Eric Savitz

In the latest installment of our Reporter Sound Off series, Eric Savitz talks to us about the importance of understanding Barron’s audience, how to make a PR pitch stand out and why embargoes often trump exclusives.

Lisa Davis

September 16, 2021

Over the last few months, the IPO landscape has heated back up for tech companies hoping to make their public debut. And with digital transformation and digitization in full swing across the enterprise, and after a challenging year, business are going head to head to tell their tech story, showcase corporate momentum and ultimately, stand out from the competition in a volatile market. 

Eric Savitz covers technology as an associate editor at Barron’s where he focuses primarily on tech investing and the public markets. In this latest installment of our Reporter Sound Off series, Eric talked to us about the importance of understanding Barron’s audience, how to make a pitch stand out and why embargoes often trump exclusives. 

Our takeaway? Understand a reporter’s beat and their writing style, make your pitch personal and precise. Keep reading to learn more!

Hi Eric! Can you provide a quick overview of your beat and the sources that you’re looking for regularly? Has your story focus shifted since the pandemic in March 2020?

Eric: My coverage and beat has not changed much this year. I primarily cover tech investing, particularly the public markets, and some of my coverage is also centered on Silicon Valley-focused news. March 2020 was when our world changed – which is something everyone says, but it really is the truth. Despite all of the uncertainty this past year, the topics I report on have remained the same. If anything, my beat has become busier as more companies have had their eye on the public markets, and they’ve been so volatile.  

How many pitches do you tend to receive on an average day/week? What are the changes or shifts in pitches from public relations pros that you’ve noticed since COVID-19? What makes a pitch stand out in the current climate? What are some mistakes that PR pros have made when pitching you over the past few months?

Eric: The answer is: way too many pitches; however, the current climate hasn't really changed the stylistic nature of the pitches or their angle, only the amount. The common mistakes have always been true - pitches from PR professionals that fail to understand what I report on and what our publication prefers to cover. In my experience, mass pitching is always an immediate fail since it eliminates any personalization from the pitch. I can tell almost immediately when a mass pitch is shared as it is not specific to style or coverage. The ones that tend to stick are personalized, to something I have covered before, with a news hook that is interesting to Barron’s readers. 

Can you describe some positive interactions you’ve had when working with PR professionals? What did you like about these interactions? What’s the best way to build a relationship with you?

Eric: I have many positive interactions – generally coming from PR professionals who understand what I write about and how the publication works. What would help people the most is reading my work to know how I write, the direction I generally take, and style, especially with the complexities and nuances associated with stories regarding the markets and tech sector. I am, personally, very open to relationship building, as long as there is a clear understanding that your firm and clients are relevant to what I do. PR pros have a lot to offer when they understand what their client’s goal is.

Do you accept exclusives/embargoes? If so, when are they appropriate to use with you and how much lead time do you need?

Eric: I accept embargoes, sure. Though I find that most exclusives offered aren't generally exciting, embargoed news on relevant announcements is welcome. When pitching embargoes, PR professionals often fail to make the content genuinely worthy of an embargo. As I mentioned before, some pitches are not relevant to me simply because the person pitching fails to understand not only what I like to write about but Barron's preference and their audience. Really, this is the golden key to sparking my interest - it's what makes my coverage unique and relevant!

What should PR pros know about journalism right now? Can you provide one key piece of feedback or advice to build a strong relationship with you?

Eric: It's essential to keep in mind that we, journalists and reporters, are also under immense pressure to produce in multiple formats, so it is best to keep interactions surgical. At the end of the day, the more precise the pitch, the better for everyone. At Barron's, we are far more interested in corporate news than products – our reporting focus is on deals, mergers and acquisitions, IPOs, earnings, etc. Anything other than that will be challenging to run with. My main feedback and advice is simple: don't spam, stray away from sending long pitches, and know your reporter and audience.

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Thanks for reading and stay tuned for the next installment of Reporter Sound Off!

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Author Name
Lisa Davis