Journalist profile: Valerie van der Gracht, Editor, MyVanCity.ca

Valerie Van Der GrachtWhat do you love most about your job?

Well, first of all, I don't think of being the Editor of MyVanCity.ca as a "job" in the traditional sense. I started writing for an online magazine Vancouver Island Style about four years ago. I saw it as an opportunity to stay involved with a lifestyle I already enjoyed which includes attending events; dining whether casual, formal, everything in between or at home; as well as wine events, tastings and education. From there I discovered James at HelloVanCity and I started writing about my experiences. Through James I was introduced to the Social Media Director of the Canada Line where I became their primary blogger. Through those contacts I was offered my own website and so two years ago this month we "soft launched" MyVanCity.ca. As of January 2016 we will be officially two years old. It remains my primary focus and is so interesting. I love what I do.

When is the best time to pitch to you?

Almost anytime. PR professionals are welcome to email me at valerievdg@gmail.com. If I had to pin down a time and day I would say early mornings on Mondays and Tuesdays.

What do you look for in a story?

I choose events that interest me and my readers which generally revolve around anything to do with dining, wine, social good, entertainment and "local" vendors, retailers, restaurants, wine bars and their events and promotions. That being said there is really no category we don't publicize or promote, except, of course, politics.

What’s your biggest bug bare when working with PRs?

Timing. PR Professionals are busy people and probably under their own deadlines so sometimes it may be difficult to send their media releases too far in advance. I usually can publish an article within hours and for the most part the same day I receive it, but the more notice the better. We often categorize our articles. For example #winewednesday is a popular feature that our readers know will give them the juice on what's happening in the wine world so it's best if wine event media releases arrive before Wednesday to receive the full benefit of publication as well as our social media follow-up we give to all articles published on MyVanCity.ca. That being said we are flexible and also willing to publish based on the PR's needs.

What’s your average day like?

I'm pretty much always available. I work mainly Monday to Friday and if it's busy on the weekends too. If you're looking for an optimum time I would suggest early morning and earlier in the week. I'm usually working strictly on the website from 6:00 am to 8:00 am weekdays. I monitor my emails all day long. Mid morning I'm following up all our articles with posts on our Social Media sites. Depending on how many articles we've published any given day this can be time consuming because I make efforts to be sure our Social Media posts are unique and diverse in order to optimize our reach. Evenings I may be out attending an opening or an event. It's always appreciated when I receive an invitation to a media launch.

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