Each Monday, we’re giving readers a chance to get to know the media a little better.
With a little flair.
Our goal is to give readers some insight into the work and work style of area journalists, and get to know a little bit about the person behind the byline. Start your week off with an online networking opportunity through our Media Monday blog post.
Linda Thomas is the morning news anchor on 97.3 KIRO FM and a feature reporter who won the a 2012 Regional Edward R. Murrow award for feature news writing. She’s an online journalist for MyNorthwest.com. Her blog, The News Chick, is a mix of stories about Northwest personalities, technology, education, parenting and anything else that grabs her attention. When she’s not writing her news blog, she’s contributing to three other blogs with the intention of turning them into a books someday. She’s also been a freelance print reporter, writing for The Seattle Times, The Seattle Post- Intelligencer, Puget Sound Business Journal, and other local publications. Although radio is her first love, social media is a close second. She’s been named one of the top 20 women journalists on Twitter, and one of the top 100 news-people student journalists should follow. When she’s not working, Linda enjoys being with her husband and two children in Ballard. Golden Gardens is their favorite place to hang out in Seattle.
Q: What’s your favorite kind of story?
A: I like telling the story of an ordinary person who does something extraordinary. These people never think they’re special and that’s what makes them interesting to me. We have a lot of people like this in the community – sheriff’s deputies, teachers, doctors, blue collar workers – who have ways of making a difference that most people don’t know about. I enjoy telling their stories to our listeners and readers because we can all relate to an average person who somehow makes life better for everyone around him or her.
Q: Finish this sentence: “A good PR person is …”
A: …someone who can identify a story, and the best person within a company to tell the story. Hint: the person who can best tell a story is never the official spokesperson, it’s someone within the organization who is passionate about what he or she is doing. Readers and listeners don’t connect with companies; they connect with people. They don’t want to hear about how fabulous your organization is, they want to hear a compelling story.
Q: Press releases: Love them or hate them?
A: Love the electronic version of press releases because it’s very easy to scan and determine if there’s a story I’d like to tell. I hate paper, mailed press releases. They are a waste of resources. If you really want to get to me, send me a message on Twitter or Facebook.
Q: How has social media changed what you do?
A: Social media is a fantastic tool, but it’s not a magic wand. Twitter and Facebook don’t make me a better journalist, but they do make it possible for me to connect with those who have interesting stories to tell. I’m able to find more unique story ideas and reach out to people who have a personal experience to share. The value of social media for me is connecting – in real life when possible – with people in the community, and being there when they want to interact with me.
Q: What hidden talent or skill do you have that listeners/readers don’t know about you?
A: I’m artsy. I’ve designed and produced handmade greeting cards for various stores in the region. I’ve created purses out of newspapers, and I’m a stencil and trompe l’oeil painter. I’m also a farm girl at heart and can drive a tractor, although that’s a little-used skill.
Q: If you weren’t working at your current job, what would you be doing?
A: What I do now is not a job, it’s a gift. I get to explore all of the things I’m curious about, meet interesting people, ask any question and get answers. Then I get to tell everyone about what I’ve learned. Oh, and I get paid too? Pinch me, this is a dream. If not a journalist, I would be an author and would finish the three books I’ve started writing. Too close to my current job? Then I’d be a counselor, trying to help the children and teens who don’t get the attention and direction they need.
The PR Pro Takeaway: Don’t kill any trees for Linda, send her your information via email, or better yet, tweet to her. Also, consider an alternative spokesperson for your story; Linda values sources who don’t have “media relations” in their title.