Ask the Expert with Global’s Online Managing Lifestyle and Trending Editor, Chris Jancelewicz
What is your favourite part about being in the media?
As a news junkie, it’s fun to be on the frontlines of breaking stories. There’s something satisfying about being among the first to know about a story. A caveat: it can also be upsetting, too.
What led to you becoming a journalist?
Ever since I was a child, I’ve been an obsessive reader and writer. I still have dog-eared journals, diaries and notepads from decades ago. I’ve always sought to document everything, so becoming a journalist seemed like a natural progression for me.
What has been the biggest challenge you have had to overcome?
I’ve had plenty of difficult personal-life issues to overcome, but in terms of work, I’d have to say that writing in my particular beat — entertainment, lifestyle and “viral” content — doesn’t garner a ton of respect. I’ve had to work hard for that, to showcase my writing and work as something of value to the organizations and publications I’ve worked for.
What do you wish more people knew about working in the media?
The public seems to think we’re out to dupe them or dictate a narrative to them. Many people think we’re some huge monolith with an agenda. I can assure you that we’re all just people like you, doing our best to get you accurate information. One other thing is the incredible pressure journalists face every day. It’s not easy to put your name at the top of something and present it to the world, especially online where everyone can see. It takes courage.
What has been a highlight of your career?
In 2014, I was a featured main character in the documentary Behind the Red Carpet, which explored the ins and outs of the Toronto International Film Festival. That was amazing. I should also say that some of the biggest interviews I’ve ever done in my life have been through TIFF. A-listers aplenty!
What is your favourite part of the job?
I love interviewing. I love getting to know what people are thinking and why. It’s a special skill that I’ve spent years honing, and since I’ve become more of a managing editor, I do miss the weekly interviews I’d conduct.
What are 2 tips you want to pass along to PR professionals that send you pitches?
- Don’t use different fonts in your pitches! Don’t use different-coloured text! It’s distracting, ugly and a massive turnoff for journalists.
- If you don’t get a reply to your pitch, give the journalist some room to breathe. Don’t inundate day after day after day; that’ll ensure the journalist will never reply to you. Often, we’re slammed with pitches. If we are interested, we will reply. If we are not, we won’t.