Lisa Horten has spent her entire career in publishing, from luxury glossies to digital media site PopSugar. She now serves as Editorial Director for StrollerTraffic, a popular parenting site and newsletter, where she loves hearing about new products for families. In our interview she shares a real pitch that worked for her and some best practices for pitching.
1. What publications/ outlets are you currently reporting for?
I’m the Editorial Director of StrollerTraffic.
2. What topics/ beats/ stories are of special interest to you right now?
I focus on products, trends, and news as it pertains to the parenting/baby world (pregnancy, too). In terms of products, we’re all about what’s new.
3. Please provide a brief bio.
I’ve worked in print or digital media for my entire career, and started covering parenting for PopSugar when I was pregnant with my first child (appropriate, right?). I made the move over to StrollerTraffic about a year and a half ago, and now I work from home (and sometimes from the preschool parking lot, sometimes from the swim class waiting area. . .). Before getting into this space, I was an editor at several different luxury lifestyle glossies published by Niche Media and Modern Luxury.
The most exciting thing in my life right now is that as I write this, I’m surrounded by moving boxes and packing tape, as my family is spending the coming year in Hong Kong. We’re moving for my husband’s job, and jumped at the opportunity to shake things up a bit (our “real life” is in the suburbs of Westchester, 30 minutes north of Manhattan), and explore that part of the world.
4. Why did you become a journalist?
There are a number of facets of this profession that appealed to me when it came time to decide what I was going to do with my life. Of course, first and foremost, I love to write. But another great thing about this job is the responsibility of serving as a reputable source of information for readers/followers. That’s a privilege. In journalism, you’re constantly learning, too. It only gets boring if you let it get boring. And finally, it’s a career that can really evolve as you move through different stages of life—I’ve been able to take on managerial positions and work 50 hours/week when that was my priority, and now work from home with flexible hours as a mother of young kids.
5. What stories (or project) of yours are you most proud of and why?
The project that I’m most proud of actually has nothing to do with my regular work, but was done through a philanthropic organization that I’m involved with. Over the course of a few months, I interviewed and transcribed the living history of a Holocaust Survivor in her 80s as part of SelfHelp Community Services’ Memoirs Project. The history has been submitted to the Claims Conference’s Worldwide Shoah Memoirs Collection for posterity. I’m so glad to know that this exceptional woman’s story has been preserved, and feel so fortunate to have gotten to know her in the process.
6. What’s the best pitch you ever got?
7. What was so good about it?
The publicist identified the product and section of our site that she thought it would be a fit for in her subject line. The tone of the email is friendly, but not cloying, and she gets to the point right away. She included a great visual, a link to the product, and all pertinent info. I was able to identify whether it was a fit for us immediately (it was), and had everything I needed to move forward with coverage. Win.
8. What are some tips for people who want to pitch you a story?
Take some time to get to know the site that I work for, and what kinds of things we cover (I’m pretty certain that all journalists would agree on this!). My favorite pitches are short, to the point, and if they’re product-focused, include images (ideally embedded in the body of the email).
9. When do you prefer to be pitched? How much lead-time, or what days/ times are most appropriate?
I generally plan our editorial calendar about a month in advance, but additional lead time is always a good thing. Monday through Thursday mornings are when I’m most likely to be at my desk—anytime during the week (normal-ish) business hours is fine to pitch me, though.