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Feb 09, 2007

PR Interview: How to Get Women's Wear Daily's Attention

SUMMARY: If you want to reach apparel retailers, you need to get your logo on WWD. Check out our exclusive interview with Managing Editor Richard Rosen to find out his deadlines for big news announcements, plus how to email his reporters to be included in this fusion of news, trends, culture and analysis.
Contact information
Richard Rosen
Managing Editor
Women's Wear Daily
7 W. 34th St.
New York, NY 100001

Total circulation: 45,538
Audience: 162,730 (ABC statement, 2005)

Rosen's background
Rosen began his career more than 32 years ago as a reporter at a New Jersey daily newspaper. He worked his way up to Assistant City Editor at the Star Ledger in Newark, then became a reporter for the New York Daily News, where he eventually served as Editorial Director for Internet content. He also worked as an editor for Bloomberg News and The New York Times.

Joining Women's Wear Daily in April 2004 was not as huge a mindset change as one might think. "What we write about touches so many areas that it's part and parcel of what the general interest newspapers do as well. It's highly competitive with The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal [and] the Daily News."

The industry is dynamic and exciting, and at the forefront of the cultural mix. The newspaper’s popularity and effect on the fashion business are so great that manufacturers have been known to adopt the publication’s terms. Even back in the 1960s, John Fairchild’s slogans, such as “sportive” and “cool chic” were used to promote girdles and other items.
The site was revamped in early February 2007. Among the new features, you will find more expressive photographs, numerous interactive opportunities, greater industry coverage, enhanced navigation and Web-only information.

Current editorial coverage
The daily paper (Monday through Friday) focuses mostly on retailing, fashion, beauty, accessories, apparel and textile production, media and celebrity coverage. In addition, it covers marketing, technology, government and politics, as they relate to retailing and manufacturing. A recent issue included stories about topics, such as:

- Latest Blow for Gap: Gap Inc. experienced more hard times during the holidays and is re-examining product and merchandising strategies.
- Pucci Turns His Eye Toward Luxe Hotel: Ralph Pucci, best known for his expansive gallery for furniture, sculpture, rugs, lighting, photography, illustrations and mannequins, has a new venue for showcasing his eclectic mix.
- Post-Holiday Crush Can't Rescue Mass' Soft Season: Pressured by tough comparisons, unseasonable weather and a shift in shopping patterns, retailers reported soft December same-store sales.

A business newspaper at heart, WWD is considered to be the bible of the fashion industry. Readers include manufacturers, retailers, media and advertising professionals, Wall Street analysts and consultants.

Best way to pitch Rosen and his staff
First, read the newspaper to find out which editor covers which market (check the masthead). Market editors' email addresses follow the following formula: firstname.lastname(at)fairchildpub(dot)com

"I think that the most effective thing to do is probably target the market editors and the top editors and email them," Rosen says. By the top editors, he means editor James Fallon and/or himself. "For me, personally, phone calls are OK. Emails are obviously effective, because there isn't a lot of time."

You should also check out the editorial calendar to see if there's an upcoming issue in which your topic would fit best:

What Rosen looks for in a story pitch
"We are driven like every newspaper to get exclusives. That's the coin of the realm," he says. Make sure your pitches or press releases include the elements of a successful story: clarity of language, conciseness and focus on something truly special.

"The PR people should be able to sell it to us so we can look at a press release or an email right away and 'get it,' " Rosen says. "What's the wow factor? What's surprising about this? What's new about it? What's fresh about it?"

Rosen tries to look at all of his emails, but he doesn't always get to them, so "grab him by the lapels" with your subject line, the same way you would write a good headline. Three more tips:

Tip #1. Don't try to hype something if it's not there. Be straightforward.

Tip #2. Earn his trust by pitching only appropriate stories. "This is an industry that's built on relationships, and relationships are very important. It's a mutual process like anything else -- you get to know people, get to trust people. That's the bedrock of it."

Tip #3. Call to follow up. "I realize that the PR people have a job to do." If you don't hear back from him, it's probably because the story wasn't the right fit.

Pet peeves
No real pet peeves, he says, beyond the usual editor's grab-bag of annoyances: pitching inappropriate stories, not understanding the editorial focus, etc.

The paper closes around 8 p.m. This means that almost everything is sent to the printer by then. "If you've got a really big story, you can call us anytime, right up until 7:59." Otherwise, 6 to 8 p.m. is crunch time.

Favorite professional publication
WWD, of course. But Rosen also reads the Times and the Journal.

See Also:

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