Jeana Lee Tahnk, a.k.a the Top Tech Mom, is a technology aficionado whose eyes are always on the latest gear, gadgets and apps that impact kids and family life. After a stint in tech PR she made her way into journalism, and now regularly contributes product roundups and features for outlets like The Huffington Post, Mashable, Cool Mom Tech, Parenting and Top Tech Mom. When pitching Jeana, keep it concise and get to the point fast.
1. What publications/ outlets are you currently reporting for?
Mashable, the Huffington Post, Cool Mom Tech, Parenting, Top Tech Mom
2. What topics/ beats/ stories are of special interest to you right now?
I’m always interested in technology that impacts families, parents and kids. Any gadget/app/gear/website that can help families out or make families more organized is something I’m interested in hearing about.
3. Please provide a brief bio.
I have always loved technology and been fascinated by how it impacts our lives. Right out of college, I landed a job in tech PR and had the opportunity to work in Silicon Valley during the first bubble in the late 90s. Of course, I also experienced the eventual burst, which is when I left the Bay area (though miss it dearly!).
After I became a parent, I became very interested in the tech innovations that were aimed at making parenting easier, in whatever way possible, and started exploring the new products with a personal and professional interest. Having three kids that span eight years in age difference, I have the insight of raising a newborn a decade ago, and how dramatically that has changed most recently with the advent of so much new tech.
4. Why did you become a journalist?
I have always loved to write. I really wanted to merge my interest in technology with my interest in words and help other parents navigate the oftentimes confusing world of tech.
5. What stories (or project) of yours are you most proud of and why?
I’m thankful to have a range of the types of writing I do, which keeps things interesting and varied:
I’m happy that a story like this I did for Parenting continues to get shared: http://www.parenting.com/gallery/social-media-monitoring-kids. With so much new technology and emerging social networks for teens, it’s important that parents catch up to what their kids are doing.
I always love covering the Apple event in September for Cool Mom Tech: http://coolmomtech.com/2015/09/apple-announcement-highlights-iphone-6s-apple-tv-siri
I think it can be difficult for parents to wade through tech news and figure out how does this affect me and my family? All of our writing on Cool Mom Tech is done from a critical eye for parents.
I also love doing product round-ups like these: http://mashable.com/2015/09/19/kids-toys-3d-printing/#btAFmq9GjSq5. It introduces Mashable’s audience to new products and services they may not have previously known about.
Finally, I love writing more feature-type stories, like this: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeana-lee-tahnk/technology-in-the-classroom_b_5946570.html for the Huffington Post.
6. What’s the best pitch you ever got?
It’s hard to pinpoint one specific pitch because I get a lot of good ones. I get a lot of bad ones, too. A pitch that I recently got referenced something I had said in a tweet that day, as well as products I had written about the week prior. That shows me that the person is doing research and taking the time to customize something that I specifically will be interested in, as opposed to a cut-and-paste job.
7. What was so good about it?
A good start to a good pitch is getting my name right. Another good start is knowing what I cover. B-to-B enterprise platforms? No. A Wi-Fi router that monitors kids’ Internet behavior? Yes.
8. What are some tips for people who want to pitch you a story?
Keep it concise and to the point. I get so many pitches, and while I try to read them all (even though I might not be able to respond to them all!), I need to know up front what you’re writing me about. I have gotten pitches that don’t even state the product until three paragraphs in. That’s almost a guarantee that it won’t get read.
If I don’t respond after a follow-up or two, I’m not interested at that particular time. But there have been many times I’ve dredged up a past email with a faint recollection of a product and have ended up including it in a story. Just because your pitch doesn’t work at that particular time doesn’t mean the door is closed, by any means.
9. When do you prefer to be pitched? How much lead-time, or what days/times are most appropriate?
I always prefer email. Any day is fine and my lead time varies. If you are pitching me an exclusive, the more time, the better. My editorial needs change by the day and by the assignment, so I’m always open to hearing about tech that may suit something I’m working on now or something that may (or may not) be planned for the future.
10. What’s something most people don’t know about you?
I’m an avid Howard Stern Show listener.