How To Pitch: Kara Newman, Wine Enthusiast
June 5, 2017
Kara Newman is a contributing editor for Wine Enthusiast magazine, focusing on spirits, and the author of two cocktail books, “Shake. Stir. Sip.: More than 50 Effortless Cocktails Made in Equal Parts” and “Cocktails for a Crowd.” She is also a freelance journalist, and her work has appeared in several print and digital publications including Imbibe, Liquor.com, The New York Times, PUNCH and Saveur. When Kara isn’t writing, she develops drink and food recipes for publications and corporations, teaches cocktail demos and classes, and consults about trends in spirits and cocktails.
We caught up with Kara to talk about what she looks for in a pitch and how travel publicists can better work with lifestyle journalists — think culinary and cocktails.
What elements influence whether or not you read a PR pitch?
If it’s timely and interesting, I’ll read it. If it’s something that’s new to me, I’ll always make the time (eventually). I’m less likely to read a pitch if it’s a rehash of trends I’ve seen before, and anything focused on a made-up booze holiday usually gets deleted — unread.
When a publicist pitches you a travel-related story idea, what three things should she or he consider before contacting you?
I get a lot of general pitches about resorts that I can’t use. Even though I write for a wine magazine (Wine Enthusiast) I mostly cover spirits for them. I only rarely write about wine and/or beer.
What types of press trips excite you and motivate you to pursue them further?
If there’s a spirits or cocktail connection, you have my attention. Above all else, the point of traveling is to gather information and color that can help bring a story alive for a reader.
What information should be included in a press trip invite to help you consider the opportunity?
I love trips that get me access to distilleries or people who don’t do a lot of public appearances — if that’s part of the experience, I’d love to know.
What is your pet peeve when being pitched and/or working with PR professionals?
No emojis in the subject line, please! And no phone calls.
As a contributing editor with Wine Enthusiast and a freelance journalist, how do you determine which outlet is best suited for each opportunity? Do you work with individual outlets to structure each story?
For Wine Enthusiast, I want consumer-friendly travel ideas and recipe angles, and I do tend to work closely with the editors there to structure longer-length features. For PUNCH I hope for people with interesting backstories. And Liquor.com can’t get enough new bar profiles right now. But it changes, and I’m always pitching new outlets.
What type of story ideas pique the interest of your readers?
Readers want to be entertained and inspired. They want to hear about interesting places to visit, good things to eat, drink, make at home. I get a lot of requests for stories related to home entertaining. I tend to write for readers who are affluent, but want assurance that product X or place Y is worth spending their money.
Should PR professionals be incorporating social media-ready content in their pitches for you? What role does social media play in sourcing story ideas for you?
The former doesn’t factor into pitches for me. The latter, I’ll sometimes find interesting people or drinks via social media, but I’m not usually looking for them.
What has been your favorite place to travel for a work or personal trip, and where are you most looking forward to visiting next?
I’ve fallen in love with the Southern US and have been amazed how many story ideas I’ve picked up there. I’m hoping to visit the islands of Scotland in the near future.