PR Newswire Media How-To: 6 Tips for Selecting and Working with Subject Matter Experts

PRN Media How To Work with Subject Matter Experts

This month marks the first anniversary of the new PR Newswire for Journalists.  As part of this anniversary celebration, we’re introducing a new monthly series to Beyond Bylines, highlighting tips for making the most of PR Newswire’s free media tools. Our first how-to features ProfNet best practices.

 Want to try these tools out for yourself? Members of the media can sign up at prnmedia.prnewswire.com or check out our anniversary release to learn about our most recent enhancements. 

“I need 1,500 words on the topic with three sources, and I need it by 4 p.m. today.”

All journalists have been on the other end of this type of call at one time or another. The easy part is researching and putting together information on the topic. The hard part is coming up with quotable sources who can explain things in terms readers can understand.

ProfNet, one of PR Newswire’s free media services, can help you find the sources, of course. Just fill out a quick and easy query form and watch the responses roll in.

But, once you find them, how do you work with them to get what you need?  Here are six tips that ProfNet media users have shared with us.

Choosing the Right Experts

You’ve received several responses to your ProfNet query. How do you navigate through the replies to identify the right ones for your story?

1. Google them. We’ve all done it. When you want to know more about someone or something, the best place to start is Google. This will help you identify where the expert has been quoted, which will help you gauge their media experience. You’ll also find out if they have a website where you can get more information about them.

If you really want to do your homework, Google the expert’s name in conjunction with the publication you’re writing for. Some publications don’t want to use an expert more than once. By searching both their name and the publication name, you’ll find whether the expert already has been quoted in that outlet.

2. Check out their website. Almost all sites will feature the expert’s bio. The site also may include links to any media interviews or sample Q&As, their education, any committees they’re on, whether they’ve written on the topic, etc. You don’t have to spend hours on this step, but you really do need to do it to get a better idea of their expertise.

3. Review their ProfNet expert profile. Most experts in the ProfNet network also have an online profile via our ProfNet Connect site. Profiles typically include a summary of expertise, any blogs/websites, white papers/research, books and articles published, awards and association memberships, educational background, photos and videos, and more. If you need help searching, we can help. Email us at profnet@profnet.com.

Working With a Difficult Expert

Canned answers, hard-to-understand technical language, wordy responses — they’ve all happened at one time or another. Here’s how to handle it.

4. Be as specific as you can about the scope of the article. The more the expert understands about the end goal, the better their responses will be. Also, try to get them off their talking points. Ask questions in different ways to get different responses. You also can use this tried-and-true method and ask: “How would you explain this to your grandmother?”

5. If possible, consider the expert’s communication preference. Some experts might be more comfortable responding via email; others might prefer to talk by phone. If you can, let them choose which one they’re more comfortable with. You’ll get better answers if they’re at ease.

Of course, there still will be conversations that will not go anywhere – but those can still be useful because you’ll learn about the topic, especially if it’s one with which you’re unfamiliar.

How to Handle Approval Requests

Sometimes an expert will ask to review the article before it goes to print — a big no-no for most publications.

6. Offer a quote review instead.  Many times, experts merely want to make sure they are not misquoted, and that what they said makes sense. They don’t want to “sound stupid.”

To bypass a full article review, let them read only their quotes. This will set their mind at ease — and they might even catch an error if the information is overly technical.

So, what are your best practices for working with subject-matter experts? Share your tips in the comments below.

Maria Perez is director of online community relations at ProfNet, a free service that connects journalists with quotable experts.

Are you looking for expert sources? Just fill out the ProfNet query form to get started. You can filter the request by institution type and geographic region, and can cloak the publication name and email address if you choose. We can even post your query on our social media platforms if you’re in a rush (though we won’t without your approval). Whatever you need, we’re here to help.

Book Ghostwriting 101: What Authors Need to Know

ConnectChat Ghostwriting Tips

One of the most frequent questions we get from writers is, “How do I break into ghostwriting?”

To answer that question, we turned to ghostwriting expert Marcia Layton Turner (@MarciaTurner) for her advice and insight.

In a Twitter chat hosted by ProfNet, Turner answered a variety of questions on ghostwriting, focusing specifically on the book market.

She shared information on what it takes to become a ghostwriter, how to break in, how much you can expect to be paid, helpful resources, and more.

In 2010, Turner founded the Association of Ghostwriters, a professional trade association of ghostwriters who network and share business tips with each other regularly. She is also a bestselling business journalist and author whose work frequently tackles business and corporate strategy issues.

To date, she has authored, co-authored, or ghosted more than 30 books for major publishing houses. Her work also has appeared in magazines, ranging from Bloomberg Businessweek to Entrepreneur, Black Enterprise, Woman’s Day, and many trade journals.

Following are some highlights from the Twitter chat:

The demand for ghostwriting is on the rise. To what do you attribute that?

Overall, demand for the written word has skyrocketed. Just look at social media. Well-written content is critical today. On the book side, shifts in the publishing industry are opening the door for anyone to be an author. Self-publishing is making book authorship possible for non-writers, with the help of a ghostwriter.

More people are also aware of what ghostwriters do, what their role is today. And there is less of a stigma, I think, with having a professional writer help with a manuscript. In some circles, having a ghostwriter is a badge of honor. There is also increasing use of self-publishing platforms. And more businesses are looking at books as marketing tools.

It seems more freelancers are trying to break into ghostwriting? Is that right, and if so, why?

Yes, as magazines and newspapers shrink, freelancers are looking to new sources of income. Ghostwriting is one where opportunities are growing and the pay can be lucrative. With online pay rates rather low, book ghostwriting looks quite appealing.

Are some genres more in demand than others?

Business and technology are almost always in high demand for ghostwriters.

What is the typical pay for ghostwriting a book?

The pay varies, of course, but right now I would say that a nonfiction book pays between $20,000 and $50,000.

Some pay less because they’re shorter, require less research, or the client’s budget is small. Some pay more because the length is hefty, more research is required, it’s a big-name client, or the timeline is short.

That’s a nice chunk of change, but how long does it take, typically, to ghostwrite a book?

That also depends. I’ve written books in 30 days; others have taken nine months. The amount of time it takes may also depend on the client’s schedule and availability. The number of rounds of edits also impacts how quickly you can finish a book.

What kind of experience does a writer need to break into ghostwriting?

Writers need a few experiences to qualify for ghostwriting work. One is having been paid for their work. Blogging on a personal blog doesn’t cut it. Nor does work for e-zine articles.

Another is experience writing the types of pieces the client needs. That may be articles or blog posts or case studies, speeches or books. You need to have done it.

Someone new to freelance writing is not in a strong position to succeed as a ghostwriter. That doesn’t mean that it can’t be done, only that it may be more challenging. You may be a top-notch writer, but without experience, you’ll have difficulty selling your services to clients.

How can a writer get that kind of experience? Does writing books under your own byline count?

To get into ghostwriting books, writing your own books does give you credibility. It shows you can write to that length.

Clients want to know that you’ve done this before, since most of them have not. They don’t want to hire someone who has never written a book to write their book.

But, more importantly, ghostwriters need experience in writing in someone else’s voice — that’s key. Everyone has their own style and pace of communicating, their own preferred vocabulary.

Ghostwriting requires that you learn what that style and pace is, and mirror it in the writing you do for them. So, completing assignments where you write as someone else is very valuable.

What kinds of skills are important to succeed as a book ghostwriter?

Besides being able to adopt or mirror someone else’s voice, you need to be a strong interviewer. Asking questions that get to the heart of an issue, or that provide more detail in a manuscript, is crucial.

You also need to be a project manager. Besides writing, you have to arrange the information you gather so that it makes sense.

Research is another skill that can be important. Sometimes you’ll need to find supporting information to back up a client’s story.

Finally, ghostwriters today are part writers, part publishing consultants. Clients want advice on what to do with their books once written.

What are some tips for a writer looking to break into book ghostwriting?

The key to breaking in to book ghostwriting is landing that first project. It’s a big barrier to entry.

So, do anything to find a client and write their book, even if it means dropping your fee. Approach clients you’d like to work with to propose collaborating on a book or ghostwriting it. Just get that first book ghostwriting project under your belt!

Where do you find potential clients?

Ghostwriting clients are everywhere but they may not realize that you can help them. They may not know what you do.

So, make sure people know that you’re a ghostwriter by using that term in your bio. Add the keyword “ghostwriter” to your social media accounts, your blog, your website — everywhere you are. Make sure your name comes up when someone searches for a ghostwriter in your city or area of experience.

Also, watch for job postings that come through ASJA (@ASJAhq) and Association of Ghostwriters (#aoghostwriters) if you’re a member.

Scan jobs at Elance and Guru. They may not pay well, but they can help you get experience. Make sure you’re listed on Contently, Ebyline, and Skyword for shorter-form corporate ghostwriting work.

Introduce yourself to editors and agents who may need a ghost to partner with a client. PR firms may also be a channel to potential clients.

What’s involved in ghostwriting that people might not realize?

I think people may not realize that a good book ghostwriter will help shape the content, not just write it. Yes, you’re hired to help draft a book, but you should also be pushing the client to clarify their message and content.

You’re doing more than taking transcribed notes and editing them to make a book. Good ghostwriters ask dumb questions, play devil’s advocate, and probe to make sure the reader is getting all they need on a topic.

You have to feel comfortable pushing back even when the client may feel that what they’ve given you is pure gold.

What’s the hardest part of ghostwriting books, and what’s the most rewarding?

The hardest part varies by client. Sometimes, getting the information you need is difficult. Other times, having to tell a client that their idea isn’t new or that their concept isn’t a book is the hardest. Writing the book is not the hard part.

The most rewarding part is when a client tells you that you’ve helped make their book better. Or when one of your books wins an award or sells a million copies. That’s rewarding, too.

If someone is reading this and wants more info, what are some organizations and resources for ghostwriters?

There are a number of great writing organizations and a few that serve ghostwriters.

ASJA is terrific for freelance writers and authors. Some ghostwriters are members. I have to mention the Association of Ghostwriters, which I run, and which is 100% ghostwriters.

Those are the primary ones, but there are also plenty of groups for memoirists, fiction writers, medical writers, etc.

Before we go, tell us what you are working on next.

Right now I’m working on a few book projects. I’m finishing up a second business book for a client and just completed a proposal for a second book for another client. And I’m in the middle of another business book for a tech client.

All are in various stages of completion, which is why I’m able to juggle more than one. I like to be busy.

Are you a freelancer looking to connect with an expert source?  ProfNet has thousands of sources available to help. Submit a query, search the more than 60,000 profiles on ProfNet Connect, or get timely story ideas and experts by email – all for free! Email profnet@profnet.com if you’d like help getting started.

Maria Perez is Director of Online Community Relations and connects journalists with subject matter experts on ProfNet. To read more from Maria, check out her ProfNet Connect blog.

Blog Profiles: Religion Blogs

religionblogs

Welcome to Blog Profiles! Each week, PR Newswire media relations manager Christine Cube selects an industry or subject and a handful of sites that do a good job with promoting, contributing, and blogging about the space. Do you have a blog that deserves recognition? Tell Christine why on PR Newswire for Bloggers.

I’m venturing into new territory here.

It’s honestly been forever since we looked at blogs from the religion world. And I came up with the idea for this mostly from our content list of industries and subjects that journalists and bloggers can sign up for, in terms of news releases from PR Newswire.

But the Catholic in me also remembers we’ve now entered Lent.

This brings me to my first blog and post, Lent Begins!, on HuffPost Religion.

HuffPost Religion is a great blog. It covers quite a bit of territory: Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Sikhism, Religion and Science, Interfaith, Scripture Commentary, and Prayer and Meditation.

You don’t have to look far to find interesting reads on this site.

Narrowing down just a few to share with you was the hard part. I immediately was drawn into Denmark Chief Rabbi Mourns Loss of ‘Irreplaceable’ Jewish Guard Following Attack. And then there were these fascinating bits: What People Are Really Thinking When They Invite You to Church and Ash Wednesday Explained.

In the latter, Religion News Service’s Kimberly Winston breaks down Ash Wednesday: “It’s supposed to be a reminder that our lives are short and we must live them to the fullest.”

Follow @HuffPostRelig on Twitter.

Episcopal Café seeks to be an “independent voice, reporting and reflecting on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican tradition.”

“The Café is not a platform of advocacy, but it does aim to tell the story of the church from the perspective of Progressive Christianity,” the site says.

This is a cool blog because Episcopal Café shares tools and information to either inform or deepen one’s faith.

Some posts that I found interesting include Keeping Up With the Evolution of Marriage, Tools for Mapping Your Church Strategy, and 40 Bags in 40 Days, which talks about decluttering and simplifying during Lent and using its 40 days to give up or give away unnecessary things.

Follow @episcopalcafe on Twitter.

CNN’s Belief Blog covers the “faith angles of the world’s biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment.” It’s edited by Daniel Burke.

CNN does an excellent job with reporting complex and hard news stories on this blog.

Some pieces that I thought CNN covered well include updates to the terror attack in Copenhagen: Artist Survives Copenhagen Attack: “They Threw Me in a Storage Room” and Denmark Terror Suspect Swore Fidelity to ISIS Leader on Facebook Page.

Other items you can find on Belief include 5 Myths (And One Surprising Fact) About Lent and Five Teens in Custody After Jewish Cemetery Attack.

Follow @CNNbelief on Twitter.

Gleanings is a blog of Christianity Today that features “important developments in the church and the world.”

A post that immediately caught my eye was What to Give up for Lent? Twitter Reveals Top 100 Ideas of 2015.

The top choices of things to give up? School, chocolate, Twitter, swearing, and alcohol.

“Each year, Stephen Smith of OpenBible.info tracks hundreds of thousands of Lenten tweets during the week of Ash Wednesday,” the post says and proceeds to quote Smith.

“As I write this post, with about 4,000 tweets analyzed, perennial favorites ‘alcohol,’ ‘chocolate,’ and ‘social networking’ lead the list,” he wrote in his Monday debut of the 2015 list. “Given winter weather conditions in the eastern U.S., I expect that snow- and winter-related tweets will be popular this year.”

Other really interesting posts include Take Me to Church? Half of Pastors Believe Faith Will Become Online-Only Experience and So Long New York: American Bible Society Heads to Philly.

Follow @CTmagazine on Twitter.

P.S. Ever wonder how we come up with ideas for our blog profiles? Our handy list of industries and subjects on PR Newswire for Journalists stays top of mind. If you’re a blogger or journalist looking for religion news, let us know. We’re happy to customize that feed for you on PR Newswire for Journalists.

Christine Cube is a media relations manager with PR Newswire and freelance writer. Follow her @cpcube.

Did You See That Press Release? Seuss Found, Beagle Crowned

With thousands of news releases published each week, it can be difficult to keep up with everything on PR Newswire for Journalists. Here are some of this week’s most newsworthy releases you might have missed.

Members of the media can sign up for PR Newswire for Journalists at prnmedia.prnewswire.com.  Customize your profile to get the news releases you want before they make headlines. It’s free and takes only a few moments.

Source: PRNewsFoto/Random House

Source: PRNewsFoto/Random House

Original Unpublished Dr. Seuss Manuscript and Additional Work Found in Author’s Home

An original manuscript with accompanying sketches by Dr. Seuss, aka Ted Geisel, was discovered in the La Jolla, Calif. home of the late beloved children’s author.

What Pet Should I Get? will be published on July 28 by Random House Children’s Books, announced Barbara Marcus, president & publisher, and Susan Brandt, president, licensing and marketing, Dr. Seuss Enterprises, L.P.

A box filled with pages of text and sketches was found shortly after Ted’s death in 1991 when his widow Audrey Geisel was remodeling her home. At that time it was set aside with other of Ted’s materials.

It was rediscovered in the fall of 2013 by Mrs. Geisel and Claudia Prescott—Ted Geisel’s longtime secretary and friend—when they were cleaning out his office space. They reviewed the materials, finding the full text and illustrations for What Pet Should I Get? among other work. See the full release to learn more.

Interested in receiving more book and children-related news like this? Sign up for PR Newswire for Journalists and create a free profile to get releases emailed to you on the topics you cover. Get started now.

LEGO Systems Debuts Largest-Ever Collection of Building Sets to Inspire Builders of All Ages at American International Toy Fair

LEGO Systems, Inc. debuted its largest-ever collection of new building sets —313 new products—at the American International Toy Fair. Among the new offerings is LEGO Classic – a collection of basic bricks and special elements designed to inspire and encourage open-ended and creative building fun.  See the full release to learn more.

Want to make sure you don’t miss releases like this? Sign up for PR Newswire for Journalists and create a free profile to have releases emailed to you about the toy industry and other topics you cover. Get started now.

Source: PRNewsFoto/Purina

Source: PRNewsFoto/Purina

Purina Pro Plan Fuels Canine Champion to Victory, Celebrates ‘Nine of Nine’ With Westminster Best in Show Winner ‘Miss P’

For the ninth straight year, the Best in Show winner at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is a Purina Pro Plan-fed dog.

The streak continued with the 2015 winner “Ch. Tashtins Lookin For Trouble,” or “Miss P” for short, a 15-inch Beagle handled by Will Alexander, who took home the title on Feb. 17, during the 139th year of the prestigious competition held at Madison Square Garden in New York City.  See the full release to learn more.

Don’t miss other pets and animal news like this. Sign up for PR Newswire for Journalists and create a free profile to get releases sent to you by email on the topics you cover.  Get started now.

Deloitte Consumer Spending Index Hits a 51-Month High

The Deloitte Consumer Spending Index increased in January, reaching its highest level since September 2010. The Index tracks consumer cash flow as an indicator of future consumer spending.

“The Deloitte Consumer Spending Index increased in January, hitting a 51-month peak,” said Daniel Bachman, Deloitte’s senior U.S. economist. “The increase is due to positive contributions from all four components of the index. The sharp drop in unemployment insurance claims is in line with a steady recovery in the U.S. labor market and augurs well for continued increased consumer spending. Additionally, January gas prices decreased 41% from this time last year, to a national average of $2.12 per gallon. That translates into an extra $994 in consumers’ pockets annually.” See the full release to learn more.

Interested in receiving more economic news like this? Sign up for PR Newswire for Journalists and create a free profile to receive releases by email on the topics you cover. Get started now.

Source: PRNewsFoto/IBM

Source: PRNewsFoto/IBM

 IBM Study: The Real Story Behind Millennials in the Workplace

A new IBM study reveals that pretty much everything you thought you knew about Millennials could well be wrong. They aren’t the “lazy, entitled, selfish and shallow” workers that many believe them to be.

The results of the global, multigenerational study “Myths, Exaggerations and Uncomfortable Truths” found that the fundamental distinction between Millennials and older employees is their digital proficiency, which comes from growing up immersed in a digital world.

But, for things like career goals, employee engagement, preferred leadership styles and recognition, the study shows that Millennials share many of the same attitudes as Gen X and Baby Boomer employees. See the full release to learn more about the study.

Want to make sure you don’t miss releases like this? Sign up for PR Newswire for Journalists and create a free profile to have releases emailed to you about the workforce, studies, and other topics you cover. Get started now.

Larry Grady is online content manager at PR Newswire for Journalists. He has worked in business media for nearly 30 years and enjoys reality TV and daydreaming about travel and wine.

Around the Wire: Ethics of Digital Photojournalism, New Rules for Drone Journalism & More Media News

Welcome to the latest installment of Around the Wire, PR Newswire’s round up of journalism, blogging, and freelancing stories from the past week.

14012085485_7029243b55_o

Photo by Lima Pix; used under CC BY 2.0

1. New Rules Governing Drone Journalism are on the Way – And There’s Reason to be Optimistic (Nieman Lab)

The future of drone journalism has been in doubt for some time now. Until recently, regulations had been rather strict on what a newsroom could and could not do when it came to drones. But this week new guidelines have emerged and they are much more forgiving than most had expected.

Under the new terms, drone journalism has a future. As stated in this article, drones will begin to become “part of the equipment” a newsroom has at their disposal. An exciting revelation for journalists and their audiences.

2. Debating the Rules and Ethics of Digital Photojournalism (The New York Times)

This year’s World Press Photo competition did more than just showcase the top images of 2014. Due to an increase in disqualifications associated with post-processing practices, the event has led to an open debate on the ethics surrounding photojournalism. With digital manipulation of imagery accessible, and to a certain extent acceptable, it will be interesting to see how this affects the future for photojournalists.

3. ‘Tweet Your Story Four Times’ and Other Advice from Philly.com’s Erica Palan and Diana Lind (Poynter.)

Writing an article comes naturally to a journalist. It’s the foundation of their craft. And no matter how compelling the subject matter may be, gaining an audience for your work can be incredibly difficult.

Here, Philly.com’s Erica Palan and Diana Lind divulge their top tips for social sharing.

4. David Carr Championed Digital Media – And Called Bullshit on It (Mashable)

Last week, journalist David Carr passed away. A columnist at The New York Times since 2002, Carr penned the “Media Equation” column every Monday. As traditional media began to change over the past 10 years, he was not only a staunch critic, but also one of its first supporters. His take on embracing digital journalism became paramount not only to his success, but the Times as well.

5. Media News and Moves for the Week of February 16 (PR Newswire’s Media Moves) 

Media Moves keeps you up to date with who went where in the world of media. This week’s edition includes a new host at the helm of NBC’s Nightly News broadcast, changes at the Los Angeles Times and a shuffling of roles at The Hill.

Subscribe to Beyond Bylines in the sidebar or add our RSS feed to get media trends, journalist interviews, blog profiles, and more sent right to your inbox or feed reader.

Ryan Hansen is an audience researcher with PR Newswire keeping track of the latest New York media moves. Follow him @RPH2004 for tweets about media, food, and his general take on something that may be irrelevant.

7 Tips for Embracing Creativity’s Ugly Side

Creative Mornings

The first stage of any concept is rarely pretty.

Staring at a blank canvas at the start of a writing or creative project is daunting, and the first attempts at clarifying the scope of what you’re trying to accomplish and how you’re going to get there usually end up in the trash or wiped off a white board.

Creative Mornings, a monthly lecture series for the creative community, embraced this concept of “ugly” for January’s talk.

“It may not be pretty, but you’ve got to start somewhere.” (CreativeMornings.com)

Graphic designer Nikki Villagomez (@nikki_vz) joined the Cleveland chapter of Creative Mornings for her take on the theme.

For 15 years, Villagomez has built a successful career in graphic design and as a nationally recognized speaker on typography.  She’s currently the Graphic Design + Creative Studio Manager at Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP and runs the blog Culture+Typography.

In her talk “The good, the bad, and the (not so) ugly,” she shared the lessons she’s learned.

When approaching a creative project or assignment, Villagomez offers these seven tips to work through the “ugly”:

1. Set goals (both short-term and long-term). Short-term goals are more fluid and can be adapted more quickly as assignments or circumstances change. Long-term goals should be evaluated yearly.

2. Work on projects you are passionate about. It’s important to have a passion for both the project you’re working on and the people you are working with. Find and work for people who understand the value that you bring to the table.

3. Learn from your failures.

4. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, create it yourself. Villagomez used the example of starting a local AIGA chapter in her hometown and said, “Find a few like-minded people who share your enthusiasm, because you’re going to hear a lot of people tell you it can’t be done.”

5. You have to trust yourself before anyone else can trust you. Villagomez says that was one of her early goals when she started her public speaking career. “If I didn’t trust myself or what I was saying, the audience wouldn’t trust me or see me as credible,” she said.

6. Find out who you are and never let go. Envision a white wall and decide what you would use to fill that space by answering these questions: Who am I? With whom do I identify? Give yourself permission to identify with bits and pieces of a lot of things, because it’s all part of who you are.

7. Don’t be afraid of the unknown. Embrace curiosity.

Facing a blank canvas or white wall is scary, but even if the first draft is really ugly, you’ve taken a step into the unknown.

Getting past the fear and following where that draft takes you is such an important part of the process. In the end, the ugly is what gets us to the finished product.

To find out more about Creative Mornings, visit http://www.creativemornings.com.

Catherine Spicer is a manager of customer content services at PR Newswire and our resident Grammar Hammer.

(Photo credit: Jocelynn Hunter; modified under Creative Commons license 2.0)

Career Crossroads: Making the Choice Between Multicultural and General Market Media

Career Crossroads Derek T. Dingle

Join us on the third Wednesday of every month for Career Crossroads, a look at how journalists, bloggers, and freelancers are adapting to the changes in their media careers. Catch up on previous installments at bit.ly/careercrossroads.

Not every minority journalist aspires to a career in general market media. 

A job in top black or Hispanic media may be more rewarding. This was the case with Derek T. Dingle (@DTDingle), who has worked with BLACK ENTERPRISE  since 1983.

“I have always found at BLACK ENTERPRISE opportunities to grow, experiment, fail, and rise,” Dingle says. “During my first several years, Publisher Earl G. Graves, Sr. was confident in my abilities and not only gave me the opportunity to attend the year-long magazine management course at New York University at age 22, but allowed me to edit the magazine’s leading franchise – the BE 100s: List of the Nation’s Largest Black-owned Companies – and run the publication by the time I was 25.”

Nonetheless, he left BLACK ENTERPRISE for Money Magazine in 1990.  At that time, African Americans or people of color virtually were absent from the ranks of top editors or managers on the business side.

In fact, even as minority journalist organizations such as the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ), and Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) continue to advocate for diversity in the newsroom, the percentage of minority journalists has remained between 12 percent and 14 percent for more than a decade.*

“That lack of diversity throughout the industry remains a persistent problem, and I find it quite shameful at a time when the nation is increasingly multicultural,” Dingle says. “Over a 25-year period, the magazine industry is still not reflective of the nation in which it reports.”

He returned to BLACK ENTERPRISE in 1999.  He came back because he felt the company’s mission and his own were very similar.  They both want to help African Americans advance across industries. The publication has played a key role in providing business and financial information to African American executives and entrepreneurs. It also has given exposure to rising black business stars.

Throughout his tenure with the magazine, Dingle has authored countless cover stories. He has served as editor-in-chief, overseeing editorial operations, and as chief White House correspondent where he gained the first print interview with President Barack Obama.

Derek T. Dingle interviewing President Barack Obama

Derek T. Dingle interviewing President Barack Obama

BLACK ENTERPRISE was the first to place Oprah Winfrey on the cover as a rising media powerhouse (Dec. 1986); to profile Kenneth Chenault as a promising executive at American Express 15 years before he was named CEO of the company in 1999; and break the story on Reginald F. Lewis’ historic deal to purchase Beatrice International and create the first black-owned business to generate more than $1 billion in revenue.

Today, Dingle is the SVP/chief content officer and is responsible for the strategic planning and editorial direction of the magazine.  He’s in charge of its live events, including Black Enterprise Women of Power Summit, Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Summit, and Black Enterprise Golf & Tennis Challenge. In fact, its events platform has become one of the fastest-growing divisions within the company, allowing it to produce more powerful content for its media channels.

“We have grown from a single-publication company to a multimedia entity sharing such stories and information on our print, digital, social media, broadcast and events platforms,” he says.

There may come a point in your career when you have to decide between working in general market or multicultural media. For Dingle, a career in a black-owned media company not only inspired the development of new ideas and projects, it also satisfied his professional and personal goals.

* Source: The American Society of News Editors (ASNE) 2014 survey 

PR Newswire’s African-American press list can connect you with more news about the African-American community. If you are a journalist or blogger who would like to be added, please contact Jessica.Alas@prnewswire.com or follow us on Twitter @PRNAfricanAm.

Jessica Alas is Media Relations Director, Multicultural Markets and Hispanic PR Wire at PR Newswire. Follow her at @alasjessica.