Daniel Horowitz is a freelance writer covering tech, games and culture for various outlets including USA Today, Complex, Heavy, Elite Daily, Unwinnable Magazine, The Suit Magazine, and most frequently, Digital Trends. He also works in PR so he understands the important role pitching can play in journalism and appreciates a personalized pitch with an opportunity to meet the subject in person.
1. What publications/ outlets are you currently reporting for?
I write for Digital Trends (although less than I would like). I also occasionally contribute to Amendo and a bunch of independent gaming and travel blogs. I’ve also written for USA Today, Complex, Heavy, Elite Daily, Unwinnable Magazine, The Suit Magazine, and several other publications.
2. What topics/ beats/ stories are of special interest to you right now?
Tech; all the time. I’m especially interested in travel tech and business tech. I also still do the occasional gaming piece and really enjoy writing about culture in whatever form that takes.
3. Please provide a brief bio.
I’m a PR Manager for an SEO company (we’re currently looking for journalists!), a freelance journalist and a comic book creator. Or at least that’s what it says on my LinkedIn headline. Primarily, I love to write so I’m actually doing exactly what I want do, by creating, editing and promoting words online, offline and in the pages of comic books. It allows me to travel the world as well, so I can’t really complain there. But if I wasn’t doing that I’d heavily consider going into public policy or human rights, or even healthcare. I actually was a medical technician for a cardiac testing company for a while and really enjoyed that work.
4. Why did you become a journalist?
My dad has been a cameraman for a major news network all of his life and it’s what really got me interested in the profession. When I was young, he would meet and film Popes, Presidents, and everything in between and he’d often take me to sports games and other major events that he covered. I was even there when Joey Cheastnut unseated Takeru Kobayashi in the annual Nathan’s Hot Dog eating contest!
5. What stories (or project) of yours are you most proud of and why?
I wrote a very revealing essay about my visit to the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp that got a lot of attention for USA Today. It was a very personal piece and I was glad to see that it got a big reaction from a lot of different people.
I also did a piece for Unwinnable Magazine that was a critical examination of when I was arrested on the Long Island Rail Road. That took a lot for me to write and I’m very happy with how it turned out.
In terms of reporting-based journalism, I actually did a piece a while ago for The Suit Magazine where I interviewed a team of NASA scientists about a then-upcoming space mission. I learned a lot from that one.
6. What’s the best pitch you ever got?
I often get pitches to review or preview video games for my now defunct video game blog Continue Play. A lot of these pitches aren’t really that great, but the ones I really like have a component of meeting in person. A lot of video game companies will do actual previews of their games with the developers, which has often led to some great articles.
Two good examples of that I can think of are previews I had done for Heavy on Call of Duty and Plants vs, Zombies.
7. What was so good about them?
I really enjoy covering preview products as you get to form an unbiased impression and also often get to meet the developers behind the product in the process.
8. What are some tips for people who want to pitch you a story?
Make sure to personalize and give an angle for your pitch. Too many pitches I see feature the product without providing a story. As someone who works in both PR for SEO and does journalism, it’s really important to make sure that the writer you are pitching buys into the story you are trying to sell them. Also make sure to provide adequate assets in your pitch, whether these are links or images, as this really spices things up and gets a writer interested.
9. When do you prefer to pitched? How much lead-time, or what days/ times are most appropriate?
Anytime is great, although I usually don’t get to email until the afternoon.
10. What’s something most people don’t know about you?
I fenced for 8 years and was once a ranked member of the United States Fencing Association.