How To Pitch: Sharon Boorstin, Los Angeles Times

August 28, 2017

Journalist looks at California landscapes

Sharon Boorstin, travel journalist, frequently covers locations like this, in Fort Bragg, NC.

Sharon Boorstin is a contributing travel writer for the Los Angeles Times, particularly “Weekend Escapes,” and 85 South, an Atlanta area publication. She is also the author of Let Us Eat Cake: Adventures in Food and Friendship. We caught up with Sharon to talk about what she looks for in a pitch and how travel publicists can better work with her and her colleagues at the Los Angeles Times

What elements influence whether or not you read a PR pitch?

The subject line is all important! It has to catch my eye, be to the point. If it’s about a place I’d like to visit for “Weekend Escapes,” I’ll read it. If there’s something new about the place — even if I hadn’t thought it would work for “Weekend Escapes,” I’ll take a look. “New” is important in a newspaper travel piece.

When a publicist pitches you a travel-related story idea, what three things should she or he consider before contacting you?

  • Will it work for a Los Angeles Times “Weekend Escape”?
  • Do some research online and see if your property/destination has been covered in the LA Times in the past three years. If it has, unless there is something new there, they won’t be interested.
  • Can you easily get there in a short time from Los Angeles? “Weekend Escape” destinations sometimes include Hawaii, and a few have been in Mexico, but most are in California, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, sometimes Idaho, CO, NM.
  • Super luxury is inappropriate for the Los Angeles Times (it’s a daily paper, not Conde Nast Traveler). However, if there is something new or compelling that makes it worth a splurge, I can maybe make a case for it with the editor.

What is your pet peeve when being pitched and/or working with PR professionals?

I don’t like getting pitches for places and things that obviously would not work for a Los Angeles Times travel piece:  beer, fashion, a restaurant in New York, a luxury hotel in India. That said, I would be interested in a luxury hotel/destination for a potential 85 South article if it’s somewhere I really, really want to go. I’m open to joining a press trip if my husband, Paul Boorstin, who takes all the photos for my Los Angeles Times pieces and is an award-winning SATW photography member, is invited too.

What type of story ideas pique the interest of your readers?

For the Los Angeles Times, hotels/places/destinations that are within an easy drive or short flight from Los Angeles, and not more than $500 a night

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?

Not necessary for my stories, but I like a pitch to include links to websites, menus, brochures, etc. for my research.

What has been your favorite place to travel for a work or personal trip, and where are you most looking forward to visiting next?

This is a difficult question! I have been all over the world and I have loved just about every place I have ever traveled. I’m not interested in taking a vacation. To me, the joy of travel is learning about a new culture, the history of the destination, seeing art, enjoying local food and wine, meeting new people. I also am wild about wildlife, and will go anywhere to see animals in the wild — or a sanctuary.  I will consider a beach trip if there is snorkeling (love seeing tropical fish) or safe open-water (no big ocean waves.) And if there is more to the destination than the beach and nightlife. Oh, and I will go anywhere that offers horseback riding, a favorite thrill of mine since I was eight years old.

Kimberly Miller

Written by Kimberly Miller

Kimberly Miller is an Account Manager at DCI. Since joining DCI, Kim has worked with such destinations as Ecuador Ministry of Tourism, where she managed a nine-city North American travel trade roadshow.

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