Journalist profile: Lillia Callum-Penso, The Greenville News

Kim and I had the fortune to sit down with The Greenville News lifestyle reporter Lillia Callum-Penso recently. Lillia’s a breath of fresh air, and really gave us some great insight into her job and what’s she’s looking for in terms of story ideas.

She agreed to serve as this week’s journalist profiles. Read on to learn more about Lillia.

o Please provide title and a brief description of what you do:
Features Reporter. I write articles primarily for the Lifestyle section of the paper, including subjects like food, family, fashion, home and garden and general features and trend stories.

o How did you become interested in journalism?
I always liked to write and used to make up short stories with my dad.

o Where did you get your career start?
I started as a reporter for link Magazine, a free weekly publication in Greenville.

o Who or what has had the most impact on your career to date?
Probably my father, one of the best writers I know (although not by trade).

o What piece of advice would you give to students possibly considering a career in journalism?
I would say make sure you can do more than just write. Journalism is really so much about ideas and having the awareness and curiosity to explore them.

o What changes have you seen in the industry that are the most interesting to you?
I’d say the Web-related changes have dominated the industry. Most stories now should include some sort of online component.

o Who is your target audience and how do you look for stories to appeal to them?
We try and reach all people but the 18 – 24 and 25 – 34 set tend to respond more to web-related content and the 50 and over set tend to respond more to print content.

o What is the best thing about your job?
Getting to meet so many new people and getting to here so many interesting stories. Everyone has one.

o What is the thing you like least about your job?
The fact that deadlines mean I don’t always get to spend as much time as I’d like with people I’m interviewing.

o How do public relations professionals assist you in your journalism role?
Sometimes they can present an interesting trend story idea or more likely they help me connect with a potential source.

o What things could PR professionals do better when reaching out to journalists?
It’s always helpful to have pitches that are specifically related to my paper’s coverage area.

o What Web sites and/or blogs do you read most often and why?
Honestly, I go to first thing and I also read lots of other newspaper and magazine sites to get story ideas.


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