Like many industries, we PR folks are online…A LOT.
As a result, over time we form legitimate friendships with people who we may never meet in person.
One such friend – up until recently – is fellow cat lover Niki D’Andrea.
While I’ve worked with her for some time, and eventually struck up a friendly banter over the interwebs, we never met in person until November of last year. Given her position – overseeing 16 publications and online content for Times Media Group – it’s no wonder why it took so long. The girl is busy 24/7!
But, once we finally got a chance to meet, I hit her up for a #MediaMonday so she can share how she manages it all, plus having a life.
Niki, here we go!
When did you start at your current media outlet? What’s the back story?
I started working as executive editor for Times Media Group on January 16, 2017 – a year ago tomorrow! At the time, I had been freelancing for several months and was looking for a part-time job to supplement my income. But the only Times Media Group (TMG) position open at the time was a full-time job as a managing editor. I took that job, and less than two months later, I was promoted to executive editor.
Favorite part about Times Media Group:
I like the challenge of working on several different publications concurrently – all of which have different audiences and cover a wide range of topics and geographic areas within Arizona. There are currently 16 publications under the TMG umbrella. There is never a dull moment to my job. And I love working with such a great team of people.
Prior jobs/positions in media:
Many people know me from my time as managing editor and associate editor of Phoenix Magazine, as well as the time I spent at the Phoenix New Times, where I worked as the clubs editor, assistant day and night editor, music editor and staff writer during my stead. I also interned at Echo Magazine a lifetime ago.
Any formal education in writing?
Yes, I have a degree in English from Arizona State University.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Phoenix and Indianapolis.
Did you always know you wanted to be in writing?
Yes. It was the only thing that seemed to come naturally to me. Well, that and loving cats, but I never figured out how to make a living in the latter. I suppose I could have written about cats, but they’re terrible interview subjects. Sometimes they don’t even want to look at me, let alone talk.
Favorite type of music:
I like everything, but lately I’ve been on an electro-jazz kick. I like mashups of old jazz standard vocals layered over electronic beats and quirkly samples -- like Wax Tailor’s “How I Feel,” which uses the vocal track from Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good,” and the Gotan Project remix of “Whatever Lola Wants” by Sarah Vaughan.
Black because it matches everything, and green because that’s the color of my eyes.
Favorite local haunts:
Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour; Hula’s Modern Tiki; Kierland Commons; Westwind Drive-In theaters in Glendale.
Favorite places to visit:
Iceland and The Netherlands.
Haute hamburgers and lasagna.
Least favorite food:
Three things readers would be surprised to know about you?
I put frankincense oil on the bottoms of my feet almost every morning; I’ve only been fishing once in my life; and I have several tattoos
Best way to pitch you:
Email. I rarely answer my office phone. And the more details, the better. We frequently get emails and phone calls that simply say “I’ve got a good story for you. Get back to me.” No editor in this office – or probably anywhere, I imagine --- responds to that type of message. Also, we generally work three months in advance on monthly publications, so when it comes to pitching events, earlier is better.
Types of stories and pitches you are looking for:
That varies depending on the publication, but three questions that I always ask when someone pitches a story (regardless of publication) are: Is it local? It is timely? And is it interesting? I will usually also ask what visuals might accompany the story.