As is with most media relationships today, they start with a few email exchanges, perhaps pitching a story (PR person), perhaps looking for a source (reporter). That’s how I came to know Emma Gibson of Arizona Public Media in Tucson. She is the public affairs reporter and reached out to me needing some information from one of our clients for a story she was working on.
I’m in Tucson a bit more lately so took the time to meet with her at the studio on the campus at the University of Arizona. This Sun Devil was duly impressed with the news operation. And was happy to meet in-person someone that I’ll be working with quite often in the coming months.
So that you can get to know her a little better as well, Emma is today’s #MediaMonday.
Tell us how you got your start in writing?
I got into journalism through my cultural anthropology classes in college. I thought people were asking great questions, but I didn't like how all these conversations and the answers stayed in academia. Real people never heard the stories. In journalism, I get to talk to everyone and share their stories on the radio.
Tell us how you came to start working in Arizona?
I moved to Arizona for my job at Arizona Public Media in Tucson. It's not an exciting story: it was hiring while I was applying. I got the job, so I moved.
I love the Southwest, and I'm glad I got to stay here. I love the intimacy of audio reporting, and I want to stay in public radio forever.
Tell us about the outlet and types of story pitches you want?
I cover tribal affairs in Southern Arizona for Arizona Public Media on the NPR side. I'd be interested in pitches from tribal governments, Indigenous activist groups or on events/topics that are of importance to Indigenous communities in Arizona.
It's my job to increase AZPM's coverage of Indigenous communities, so many topics fall under that job description.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in New Mexico. I miss it, but it's close enough that I can make regular trips home.
Favorite type of music?
I usually listen to country and jazz. I love salsa dancing.
I love purple, blue and green. Earth and jewel tones are my favorites.
Favorite TV shows or movies?
I just discovered Golden Girls, so naturally the show has taken over my life. When I'm 80 I hope to be as sassy as Sophia.
Favorite local restaurants or other haunts?
I'm new to Tucson, so I still have lots of menus to explore. I'd never had Ethiopian food before moving here, and Zemam's has definitely claimed a special spot in my stomach. When I'm homesick I go to Poco and Mom's. What are your favorite places to eat in Tucson? Tell me where to go!
Least favorite food?
I don't know what my least favorite food would be. I don't really like seafood, but that could be because I've always lived in places where it's not very popular.
Three things readers would be surprised to know about you?
I used to live on a farm. I've lived in five states, all in the West. I went skydiving once and sometimes I want to do it again.
What is the lead time you need for content or pitches?
In general, I like to schedule interviews a week to a couple of days in advance. If the pitch is extremely timely and will lose its newsworthiness that day, I could maybe do a same day turn-around for our daily newscast — maybe. My afternoon deadline is at 3 p.m.
What should (and shouldn’t) people be pitching to you?
When you're a radio reporter, you have to do some phone interviews. It's not your preference, but you do what you got to do. Talking to someone and recording the interview in-person is always better.
My favorite stories have interesting natural sounds of action / movement. If you know of an event or decision that's significantly affected you or others, please send me an email.
Emma can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter at @emmagibs0n.