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May 31, 2002

PROFILE: How to Pitch the Editors at Mediaweek

SUMMARY: 22,000 media buyers, agency execs, and media professionals subscribe to MediaWeek to learn what is going on in television, radio and national print advertising markets each week.  No, they do not have a reporter dedicated to online yet, but if you would like to tell them to add one, or if you would like to plant a story about traditional media, click here to learn how in our exclusive profile:
Michael Burgi
Executive Editor
Mediaweek magazine
770 Broadway
7th Floor
New York, NY 10003
PH: 646.654.5259

-> Circulation as of 5/02:

22,000 total circulation of which 7,200 readers pay $149 per year (the rest is controlled circulation to qualified execs). Web site gets approx 50,000 unique visitors per month.

-> Burgi’s background:

Midway through college Burgi realized his true goal in life was to be a journalist, so he transferred from Bard to NYU's journalism program. While still in school he interned at Channels magazine, a TV industry trade pub. He did so well that Channels ended up hiring him after graduation, and he worked there until it shut down three years later in the recessionary times of the very early '90s.

Next, Burgi briefly covered the cable industry for Multichannel News and later for Inside Media magazine, but after only a year was lured away by a hot job offer at Mediaweek, where he says he feels “most at home.” Burgi worked his way up the Mediaweek masthead for over nine years. This March he was promoted to his current position of Executive Editor.

“Media has always interested me, but what’s best about being here is the people,” Burgi says. “We are a cohesive unit and we work together a lot [with Adweek and Brandweek]. We may be a narrowly targeted publication, but not too narrow. We don’t just cover one form of media.”

-> Current editorial coverage:

Mediaweek covers major ad-supported media, including network, cable, local, and syndicated TV, radio, and print newspapers. Although Mediaweek also covers Internet media, it is no one reporter or editor's specific beat. Burgi explains that the publication is “waiting for the Internet to evolve as a proven media form.”

The magazine gears its stories primarily at media buyers at the agency level, but also targets ad sales executives such as a senior vice president of sales at NBC or The New York Times.

Burgi says, “if it’s news, we want to cover it first and cover it best. We also want to know what the dollar flow is.” A typical Mediaweek feature can be anything from a profile of a Hollywood producer to a profile of a media company such as Belo Inc.

-> What Burgi looks for in a story pitch:

Burgi wants relevant news that is breaking “today, tomorrow, or next week.” The story should absolutely be about “the content or advertising; not the marketing but the ad sale.”

For example, a story can be that ESPN has just signed (or will sign) 12 advertisers to the airing of the X Games. This kind of story should include the names of the advertisers and all of the relevant details (as well as any contacts you can supply). A story can also be how Rolling Stone is redesigning and how the content will change.

You should avoid pitching Burgi, or any of his editors, on something that has already happened. “We don’t want to hear you did yesterday or even last week,” Burgi says. It also can not be something that someone already wrote about. In Burgi’s words, “don’t tell me the Times has profiled. Unless we find our own angle for it, we just won’t cover something someone already has.”

Although Burgi says, “We do not cover technology in any way,” he clarifies that tech may be a topic “when it is relevant to content.” For example, Mediaweek might cover how a new set top box is breaking into the market, with a focus on how set tops affect content.

Burgi does have some hard and fast rules about pitching him. First off, know his magazine. Second, make it brief. Burgi says, “I really don’t care how it gets to me as long as you see rules one and two, basically.”

Also, be forewarned about calling after you have sent him an email or fax. His answering machine specifically states not to follow up with him if you sent a release. He says he will respond if it is worth it and understands “they need to do things this way, it but it just wastes our time.”

-> Deadlines:

The print publication goes out every Monday and the staff works on stories throughout the week. Burgi says he closes editorial sections from Wednesday onward and he and his staff will have increasingly less time to listen to pitches during that period. In Burgi’s words, “the earlier in the week you get to me the better chance you have of getting in magazine.”

Mediaweek also has a website, which is updated daily as hot news comes in. Because it is online there is no real deadline, but be mindful of the hour of day. The staff keeps somewhat regular office hours and is on East Coast time.

-> Submitting pre-written contributions:

Burgi will accept them, but he says, “It is ultimately subject to our judgment.” A pre-written contribution “should have a strong opinion” or “take a stand somehow.” Above all it has to be relevant to what Mediaweek covers. Also, “if it’s just some light thing about how the radio business is wonderful, it won’t make it,” Burgi says. You should make sure the copy has not appeared in any other publication, especially his competition.

-> Becoming a regular columnist:

Mediaweek has a couple of columnists that it regularly uses, but Burgi says the publication has no use for more right now.

-> Where you can meet Burgi:

There was a time when Burgi got out of the office more. He will try to make it to conferences hosted by NATPE, the NAB, as well as the American Magazine Conference in the fall, and various radio industry events. Lately, his reporters make it to those. Burgi is, however, “happy to try and meet for lunch or breakfast, but it doesn’t happen too often.”

-> What does Burgi prefer to see in a press kit:

Just send any relevant press releases you have. Burgi will only throw out a formal press kit.

--> What Burgi looks for in an online press room:

Burgi does not really bother with them because, he says, “We know our sources, we cover our business well enough and we just don’t use online press rooms.”

-> Burgi’s favorite business publications:

Wall Street Journal, online and in print. He also admits to reading, and respecting, all of his competitors like Electronic Media, Multichannel News and AdAge to name a few. He reads those online.
See Also:

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