CPRS Digitial Writer Carrice Wong sat with Richard Dal Monte, Editor of the Tri-City News to find out about his career and what PR pros need to know when pitching him:
Richard Dal Monte grew up in East Vancouver and lives in Coquitlam. He earned a BA in English from UBC before completing the Journalism certificate program at Langara College in 1986. He has worked as a community newspaper journalist in Metro Vancouver ever since, beginning as a sports reporter/editor before going on to become a features editor, then a general assignment reporter.
Since 2001, he has been editor of The Tri-City News, a twice-a-week newspaper serving a community of about 200,000 people in Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody, B.C. Richard has won provincial, national and international awards for feature writing and page design.
What do you love most about your job?
Every day brings something new and you learn something new with each story. When I was a reporter, I liked juggling stories on a variety of subjects because I got to learn about a wide range of things and meet interesting people.
When is the best time to pitch to you?
There are two ways to pitch me but both require this crucial thing: a local angle for Tri-City News readers.
Given that… 1) You make a quick call (never on a Tuesday or Thursday) with a story idea that isn't just free advertising for your client -- i.e., there's some story value for the readers -- then you follow up by sending a more detailed email with all the pertinent info plus contact details.
2) You go straight to the email -- and if you hear nothing from that and you truly, truly believe we may have missed a cool local story (it happens), follow up with a phone call.
What do you look for in a story?
See above: local, local, local; value for readers; ideally, an exclusive.
What’s your biggest bug bare when working with PRs?
Pushy PR people who can't or won't accept that we may say no to their idea. We have our standards and guidelines, and you have to accept that and move on.
What’s your average day like?
Arrive, read direct emails and general newsroom emails. Listen to voicemails. Hit a few major news websites looking for any local stuff we may not have yet. On Mondays and Wednesdays, check the dummy (the map of the paper) and start planning what goes where, then copy edit and lay out back pages, plus hold story meeting with reporters. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, head down until deadline copy editing, laying out pages, etc. Fridays, catching up on stuff not done on the other four days, general paperwork, long-term projects, etc.
You can reach Richard at firstname.lastname@example.org