Between You and MEdia…Stephania Jimenez of NBC10

How did you get started as a journalist?

I took a journalism class in high school, wrote for my high school paper, and then became the editor. During college I interned at FOX News Radio network, and got to do interviews and write stories — it was a really hands-on experience.

What was your first paid position?

Working part-time as a writer for a TV news station in Miami; I was straight out of college.

After that, I moved back to New York, and FOX News Radio offered me a job writing and producing. I always new that TV was my goal so I went to the public access TV station in Brooklyn, working on documentaries and my tape. Then I got my first TV gig at NBC in El Paso, Texas. I joined NBC10 in Philadelphia in 2018.

What do you look for in a pitch?

Usually the pitches should tie in to a national story, but offer a local perspective.

In addition to what the story is, I suggest PR folks include the following in their pitches:

  • Suggestion for local experts to interview
  • Include regular people, too. If you’re opening the first clinic in Fishtown helping single moms, we need to hear from a single mom
  • Always look at the angle that makes your story interesting and different than any other story I could be doing
  • Buzzwords: if something is the “first” or “only” that’s really important to note

And it’s not just about the interview(s) – if we’re doing a TV story, think about imagery. What are you offering that is visually striking? Where can we shoot? If reporters/producers don’t have interesting pictures to go along with the story, it’s much harder for us to get it approved.

Is following up with you OK?

If I know you, you can text me to follow up on a pitch. You can also give me a heads up that a pitch is coming.

If I don’t know you, you should try to develop a relationship because we get hundreds of emails a day and if we know each other, I’ll definitely look at yours.

How? Feel free to email me to introduce yourself with some basic info: I’m so and so, I work for this agency, we have a ton of fun stuff coming up, I’d love to chat with you about some ideas — I’ll work around your schedule. Then I’ll reach out when I can.

What are your favorite types of stories to report? 

Health and human interest stories — anything that’s a break from the regular crime stories, like positive things happening in the community.

Can you share a fun and interesting fact about yourself?

I’m a foodie – I especially love Greek food and Texas BBQ,

Contact info

Between You and MEdia…Matt Leon of KYW

How did you get started as a journalist?

I always wanted to be in radio, even as a kid. My main goal was to be a play-by-play guy; I used to listen to Phillies games and did a play-by-play on my tape recorder. Then in college, I wrote for our newspaper.

This job at KYW is perfect because I like people to come to me to get the news they need, as well as the anonymity that radio allows you.

How many pitches do you get a day/week?

Now that I’m doing a wide ranging podcast for KYW – KYW In Depth — I get 30-40 pitches a week, and there are times I’m overwhelmed.

Ten to fifteen of those are within the ballpark of what we cover, and of that, we’ll do stories on five to seven of them.

What are you looking for in a pitch?

Topics that are interesting -– you get a lot of pitches that are commercials dressed up as a PR pitch. I get a lot of emails from people who have never dealt with me or don’t know what I cover, maybe they got my name on a mailing list.

Is following up with you OK?

I do open most emails. But sometimes, I’ll get the same one four to six times in a two-week period. If I wasn’t interested the first four times, the fifth time won’t ring the bell.

It’s OK to follow up – but not six or seven times.

What advice would you give PR professionals looking to pitch you? 

Know who you’re dealing with and the general types of topics in which the reporter or producer is interested. Take 5-10 minutes to do some research, visit the website, see the podcasts we’ve done, and even listen to a couple.

I can’t stress enough to know your audience.

What are your favorite types of stories to write? 

The best stories are where I learn something. Recently I’ve covered: Cicadas; President Biden’s infrastructure plan; the 1918 flu pandemic. Anything where I can come away as an interviewer having learned something — and our listeners can, too.

Can you share a fun and interesting fact about yourself?

I’m a very good gardener and I especially like planting vegetable gardens. I love the process and look forward to the two weeks at end of July/beginning in August when something new is ripe.

Contact info:

The best way to reach me is via email:

Between You and MEdia…Jack Tomczuk of Metro Philly

In this edition of Between You and MEdia, we chat with Jack Tomczuk of Metro Philly.

How did you get started as a journalist?

Growing up in Philadelphia, reading the local papers and watching the news, I knew I always wanted to be a journalist. I read the papers constantly as a kid, even on the way to school!

When I was younger, I was more interested in sports, but over time, I became interested in news, and decided that I wanted to major in journalism. So I went to Temple and did that! 

While I was in college, I did some internships, and eventually got a job at the Press of Atlantic City. After a few years, I decided to move back up to Philadelphia to work for the Northeast Times weekly newspaper. And now, I am at the Metro, which I love. 

Who or what inspired you to pursue journalism? Who continues to inspire you as a journalist?

I have always been inspired by sports reporters and columns. When I was growing up, there was a Philadelphia Inquirer box across the street from my house, and I could put in 25 or 50 cents. I would read those columns, and I particularly liked one written by Bob Ford.

I later interviewed him as part of a project in college, so that was cool so he was one of the people who kind of inspired me. I was also inspired by reading the investigative reports in The New York Times, and the Washington Post and seeing some of the things they uncovered and how their words could have an amazing impact. 

How do you handle so many pitches?

I do get a lot of pitches! I often receive stories that aren’t aligned with what I cover or sometimes the event or program is not my coverage area. Every morning I go through my email and delete what isn’t relevant. But it is a lot of fun to read pitches and think about story ideas. 

What are your favorite types of stories to write? 

I like covering the breaking news and big stories. I remember when I was at the Northeast Times when City Councilman Bobby Heron got indicted. I got to rush down to the courthouse. There was definitely a rush of adrenaline.

On the flip side, I also like to write feature stories and share something good that is happening in the community or someone making a difference, or a business or nonprofit that’s making a difference, and then showcasing them and bringing their story to life. I like meeting people and celebrating neighborhoods. 

What do you like to do outside of work?

Well, I like to watch sports-the Sixers and the Eagles and I like to hang out with my fiance and my family. I like the outdoors. I used to live closer to Pennypack Park and would walk around there all of the time. 

Can you share a fun and interesting fact about yourself?

When I was in college, I got a scholarship to participate in a study abroad program for Temple and we went to South Africa for the summer. We listened to a speaker who was a priest, and, afterwards I asked him if he knew Desmond Tutu. He did! I got hooked up and was able to interview him, even though he hadn’t done interviews in recent years. I was able to ask him a few questions at a coffee shop. That was one of the highlights of my career, especially because it was in another country and I was only a college student. It is amazing to reflect on the fact that I got to interview a Nobel Peace Prize winner, so that was pretty cool.

What do you want people to know about you or your work?

I want people to know that I’m always trying hard and I want to be a resource for Philadelphians. I want to make sure they’re informed about everything, and that I try to do it in basic terms. With the Metro, we offer shorter articles, but those that are filled with information that is shared in a  fair and accurate way. So that’s that’s pretty much what I would want them to know.

I feel like newspapers like the Metro are particularly helpful. Do you agree?

Right, yes, particularly in relation to COVID! It’s been a ride, and like there’s so many different things people need to know, like guidance and mask wearing. We want to reiterate the truth and continue to reiterate it because there’s so many falsehoods.

Do you have any thoughts on the impact of the media on reporting false news?

It is not always the media. I think a lot of the incorrect information is on social media. People say what they want online and they make up rumors and spread falsehoods. And on social media, anyone can say anything. You never know where the info is coming from 

It’s important to reiterate that so much of what reporters do is on the service side and that is often the heart of why you became a journalist, or why journalists are doing what they’re doing. I want to give people the resources and information about safety, schools, vaccines – it changes so much and I want to be a resource. Not everybody can follow every development, the way I do or the way some can. Although, my mom is more of a news hound than I am. She’s always calling me: “Did you see this or did you see that?” She’s a great resource!

Between You and MEdia…Miguel Martinez-Valle

In this edition of Between You and MEdia, we chat with Miguel Martinez-Valle, reporter with NBC10 and Telemundo62

How did you get started as a journalist

My journalism journey started when I read the middle school announcements over the loud speakers. From there I developed a love for broadcasting taking TV and journalism l classes in HS and college. Eventually leading to careers in English and Spanish in Las Vegas and now Philadelphia. 

Who/what inspired you to pursue journalism and what keeps you inspired?

My inspiration has always been journalists like Jose Díaz Balart and Jorge Ramos. Powerful and brave journalists who fight for their community. Díaz Balart specifically inspired me to pursue doing both English and Spanish language media.

How do you work with PR professionals?

I work with PR professionals a few times a month when I am pitched a topical story or need help reaching a certain business.

How many pitches do you get a day from PR folks? 

I would say probably 5-15 pitches a day.

How much follow up is too much on a pitch—with someone you don’t have a relationship with, and someone you do? 

I would say if it’s a good pitch one reminder follow up is enough. Sometimes with a busy news day things get lost so with one follow up you can get someone’s attention.

How do you prefer to be pitched? What is the best way to make a pitch stand out?  

I like pitches that get to the hook right away. The shorter the better. Especially if I’m trying to find a story I don’t have a lot of time to read paragraphs. Just need what the pitch is and basic details.

What advice would you give PR professionals looking to pitch you? 

My advice would be to only pitch when it’s topical and relevant. Avoid over pitching. And definitely avoid pitching when there’s an overwhelming story taking priority on the news.

How do you step away from the 24 hour newscycle? What do you do outside of work?

Outside of work I really enjoy dining out. I love trying our Philadelphia restaurants, have really enjoyed seeing the creative outdoor set-ups, and am a notorious lover of brunch.

Can you share a fun and interesting fact about yourself?

I was born in Mexico and lived there until age 5. But I am a terrible dancer.

Best way to contact you?

I can be reached via email at Miguel.Martí

Between You and MEdia…with Jenna Meissner

In this edition of Between You and MEdia, we chat with Jenna Meissner, PHL17 Morning News’ Traffic Anchor.

Years in the industry? 5 years

How did you get started as a journalist? I studied broadcast journalism at Temple University’s Klein College of Media and Communication. I interned at PHL17 in May 2015 and the rest is history.

Who/what inspired you to pursue journalism and what keeps you inspired? As a young girl, I watched the local news with my mom every night before dinner time. I remember watching the reporters and thinking it would be really cool to do that one day. The people I’ve met over the years and their stories keep me inspired. There’s so many amazing things happening right here in the community and I’m honored to give these voices a platform.

What’s your favorite aspect of your job? I’ve always been a people person. I love the interaction that comes with being on set and talking with my coworkers. PHL17 Morning News is definitely not your traditional newscast. We’ll tell you the stories you need to know, but we have SO much fun doing so. I love going to work and knowing I’m definitely going to laugh today.

What’s your favorite story that you’ve worked? As traffic anchor, I rarely get to leave the studio so anytime I’m able to get out into the field is exciting. I really enjoy our “PHL17 Down The Shore” segments throughout the summer where I get to highlight local businesses and activities down at the Jersey shore. I also enjoyed my “Community Heroes” series where I highlighted first responders making a difference in their community.

How do you work with PR professionals? We are constantly looking for guests for our show. Whether it be booking a chef for our outdoor grill set or setting up an interview to discuss an upcoming fundraiser, I rely on PR professionals to find the best of the best meaning strong interviewees and visuals.

What advice would you give PR professionals looking to pitch you? Graphics always catch my attention. If there’s an attached image, video, etc. I’m more likely to look at that than read a long email. The shorter the email with the most important information, the better.

How do you step away from the 24 hour newscycle? What do you do outside of work? Outside of work, I spend a lot of time with my growing family. I have one niece and three nephews I try to see every week. I’m recently engaged so planning a wedding has taken up a lot of my free time (send help!!!!)

Can you share a fun and interesting fact about yourself? I was a professional dancer trained in ballet, tap, jazz and modern for 20 years of my life.