Each Monday, we’re giving readers a chance to get to know the media a little better.
With a little flair.
Our goal is to give readers some insight into the work and work style of area journalists, and get to know a little bit about the person behind the byline. Start your week off with an online networking opportunity through our Media Monday blog post.
This Week: David Longdon, Seattle P.I. Cycling Blogger
After graduating from UC Davis with a degree in Zoology, David managed a ski and bike shop in Vail, CO for three years, and laid the foundation for a lifetime of playing hard. He was a classroom teacher from 1987 to 1994 (earning a Masters in Education at CU Boulder along the way) and since 1994 his work has focused on technologies for K-12 education.
David values lifelong learning and broadening his horizons and recently completed an Executive MBA at the University of Washington Foster School of Business.
Q: What’s your favorite story you’ve done in the last week?
A: I just posted a recap of my experience at the (bicycle) Race Across Oregon where I competed on a 4-man relay team that won the nonstop 518-mile ultra endurance event. Although this kind of race seems outrageous, it is quite accessible to most avid athletes when done in a relay format.
Q: What skills do new journalists need?
A: Tenacity, persistence, and patience. Internet and social media technologies have been forcing a change in the journalistic landscape. As we saw with the recent purchase of the Washington Post by Jeff Bezos, even he recognizes that journalism as we knew it is fading fast. We are in uncharted territory and it will take some time for us to discover models that are economically sustainable and support the important role of journalism in the US democracy. Making these transitions is going to require out of the box thinking from business-savvy people as well as journalists working in the weeds.
Q: If you weren’t working at your current job, what would you be doing
A: It’s important to me to do work that is “meaningful” and make a contribution to whatever organization I’m with, to society as a whole and to my work-mates. Consequently, the concept of retirement doesn’t make sense to me; retire from what? We only have one short life and I want to make the best of it. As long I am able I’ll be working, in my own way, to make the world a better place than when I came into it.
Q: Finish this sentence: “A good PR person is …”
A: …someone who knows their audience. In my blogger role at the Seattle P-I I get tons of boilerplate email and press releases from PR folks who haven’t taken the time to find out what the blog is about. Find out who your audience is and take the time to cultivate relationships with people who are really going to help you out. If you don’t you should just expect that they are just going to hit the delete key when they see a message from you.
Q: What hidden talent or skill do you have that viewers/readers don’t know about you?
A: I have practiced a kind of Buddhist meditation called Vipassana since 1989. The goal of this kind of meditation is to cultivate a mind that is calm and balanced no matter what happens. Research is now showing that regular meditation practice does indeed increase one’s capacity for empathy, as well as improved mental and physical health. It’s not easy—the mind naturally wants to wander. Working at this requires what I wrote above about journalistic skills— as you stick with the meditation practice, over time you develop increased tenacity, persistence, and patience.
The PR Pro Takeaway: We consistently hear the same advice about knowing your audience — it’s the key to good media outreach. David has honed his skills in one area and works to present fresh ideas for cyclists. Pitches should to him should stay in that wheel house.