Journalist Profile: GSA Business Editor Richard Breen

We here at Palmetto PR Divas are always looking for new ways to keep this blog interesting and informative. We regularly feature outstanding PR professionals from around the region, to help us and others learn best practices. And starting this week, we’re debuting another regular feature: the journalist profile.

We’ll highlight different media and their insights into the changing industry, how they got started and how they like (and don’t like) to work with PR people.

Our first journalist profile is the editor of GSABusiness, a bi-weekly business publication focused on the Greenville, Spartanburg and Anderson markets of South Carolina. You can read the publication online at http://www.gsabusiness.com.

We hope you’ll enjoy learning more about Richard’s career. Look for more journalist profiles in the coming months. If you have follow up questions for Richard, send them our way and we’ll see if we can do an update for you later on!

GSABusiness Editor Richard Breen

Please provide title and a brief description of what you do: As editor of GSABUSINESS, I am in charge of the editorial department, overseeing a staff of three full-time and several part-time writers and editors. Since we are a small group, my daily activities can range from writing, reporting, editing and proofreading to taking pictures and putting paper in the fax machine.

How did you become interested in journalism? I wanted to follow in Howard Cosell’s footsteps as a color commentator on “Monday Night Football.”

Where did you get your career start? As a writer for The Gamecock at the University of South Carolina.

Who or what has had the most impact on your career to date? There has not been a single, overriding influence.

What piece of advice would you give to students possibly considering a career in journalism? Reconsider. Just kidding – sort of. Not all news is journalism and not all journalism is news. Commercial news organizations, from print to broadcast to online, are becoming more interested in positioning their content as an entertainment product rather than an informational product. The profession is in flux. Those wanting to enter it need to ask themselves what it is they really want to do – then find a niche where that can be accomplished.

What changes have you seen in the industry that are the most interesting to you? The access to information via the Internet has totally changed the way in which journalists research stories. Information that would have taken dozens of phone calls and/or trips to the library and/or trips to the courthouse is now easily available, which makes newsgathering more efficient.

Who is your target audience and how do you look for stories to appeal to them? Our target audience is business people. We look for information that will make them more knowledgeable and productive in running their businesses.

What is the best thing about your job? Talking to fascinating people about interesting things.

What is the thing you like least about your job? Talking to boring people about mundane things.

How do public relations professionals assist you in your journalism role? PR folks are most useful in speeding the process of locating sources for interviews and providing background material for stories.

What things could PR professionals do better when reaching out to journalists? PR folks need to read the newspapers they pitch to. Not just flip through them, read them. They best way to know what information appeals to an editor is to read what they already run in their publications.

What Web sites and/or blogs do you read most often and why? I read the headlines on news sites associated with Yahoo and The Wall Street Journal. For news about my USC Gamecocks, I go to The State’s site.

Anything else you would like to add? Please don’t call me a diva.

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4 Comments

  1. […] Erick Schonfeld wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptOur first journalist profile is the editor of GSABusiness, a bi-weekly business publication focused on the Greenville, Spartanburg and Anderson markets of South Carolina. You can read the publication online at http://www.gsabusiness.com. … […]

  2. Mr. Breen, I appreciate the time you took with Liza for this interview. I’m really struck by your response to students considering journalism. I would love to hear more of your opinions on the few remaining outlets that position news as less entertainment and more… “educational”? Is there still such a space?

  3. Christy, I am sure there are individual outlets that are still information-focused, but I would not feel comfortable recommending one. Most media outlets are under pressure to feed entertainment to the masses under the euphemism of “general interest” reporting.

  4. Yeah, I guess I was looking for less a recommendation, and more of an assurance that it still exists. 😉 It’s also amazing how each outlet interprets, “general interest.”

    Thanks for responding!


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