July 12, 2002

How to Pitch CRN Magazine (Formerly Computer Reseller News)

SUMMARY: More than 100,000 computer-related consultants, retailers and middlemen read CRN magazine to figure out what to recommend to their clients each month.  Are you interested in reaching them? Then, check out our exclusive interview with Editor-in-Chief Kelley Damore.
Profile #7 in Our Continuing Series on High Tech Journalists

Kelley Damore
890 Winter St, Ste 210
Waltham, MA 02451
Phone: 516/562-7477

-> Circulation as of 5/02:

Magazine sent to 117,500 controlled (free) readers Web site averages 115,000 unique visitors per month

-> Damore’s background:

After graduating from Holy Cross with a BA in Political Science and Economics, Damore joined PC Week magazine as an editorial assistant.

In the beginning she just wanted a job where she could indulge her love of writing, but soon she grew passionate about the subject matter and progressed up the masthead to staff writer.

After two years, she moved on to work as a Senior Writer for InfoWorld; and 18 months after that Damore got a call from the Chief Editor of CRN (then known as Computer Reseller News), who offered her a Senior Editor position.

Damore's now been with CRN for eight years, and was promoted to Editor-in-Chief two years ago.

She explains why she likes the job, “I have a very short attention span, and I’m always learning something new in technology. There are companies that I covered when I started that aren’t even around now or are just a shell of their former selves. But then you see the emergence of other companies."

She adds, "I really enjoy the people in the industry, too. They are smart and savvy, moving a mile a minute. I’m never bored.”

-> Current editorial coverage:

CRN is news and analysis for solution providers, integrators and
e-businesses building technology solutions.

Damore explains it this way, “We are all about channels of
distribution. We talk to a guy in a small town who is a computer consultant all the way to large, value-added retailers. In every story we publish, we cover what news means to people selling technology or integrating a particular piece of it. We are also a big advocacy publication for solution providers.”

CRN’s cover stories often feature major CEOs such IBM’s new CEO Sam Palmisano and Cisco Systems’ John Chambers, among others. Other articles features can cover opportunities for solution providers or new emerging technologies like wireless standards and what they mean
to our readers.”

The 2002 editorial calendar is here:

-> What Damore looks for in a story pitch:

Damore is adamant about people understanding her audience. “I know this seems so simple, but it just doesn’t happen often enough,” she says. “PR will call, and they won’t bother to tweak the pitch to us.
That is the biggest problem.”

She also suggests anyone who wants to pitch a story to her or to her staff look at the masthead first because there are 16 different beat reporters and editors. You can find their names and beats detailed here:

Damore says, “I get so many calls and I will usually send them to a beat reporter. Everything is on our site or in our magazine, so I don’t know why this happens so much. I’ll take the calls and even meet with you, but try to have a feel for who you would want to talk to before you call.”

Also, think before you email. Damore does not like too much email from the same source, saying, “If you release something every two to three days it’s hard to determine what is truly news.”

Even with as much email as Damore sees, she tends to respond more quickly than to phone calls. However, if you call first to let her know about an email, you are more likely to get a response than if you send email and then ask her if she got it.

-> Deadlines:

Contact Damore or her staff anytime except between Thursday morning and Friday at noon, when everyone, including Damore, is involved in closing the week’s issue. CRN takes hot news for the site five days a week.

-> Submitting pre-written contributions:

Don’t bother; everything is staff written.

-> Becoming a regular columnist:

Right now, all columnists are on staff, but in the future, CRN may open up to big names or those who know the market well. That said, Damore may consider featuring a columnist online.

-> Where you can meet Damore:

Damore usually makes it to all of the major company partner shows (IBM, Microsoft, Cisco Systems). She also tries to attend the big tech shows like PC Expo and Comdex.

Definitey give her a call if you are planning to visit the Boston area on a press tour. She will meet you at her office or anywhere else that is convenient.

-> What Damore prefers to see in a press kit:

Relevant releases, a list of people who have been briefed on the news, a good company backgrounder and access to relevant executives.

--> What Damore looks for in an online pressroom:

Make it intuitive. Have good corporate bios and financial
information. Post recent news coverage from other publications as well as what shows the company is attending or hosting.

-> Damore’s favorite business publications:

The print versions of the Wall Street Journal and Fortune (“They do a great job of packaging their stories") and, of course, CRN.

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