Meet the Media Q+A with Christine Hall of Crunchbase News
As part of PRSA's mission to advance the PR profession and the professional, we bring you our next Meet the Media Q+A profile. In this Q+A, we speak with Christine Hall, contributing tech writer for Crunchbase News.
Tell us the story about how you got into journalism?
I've always been interested in English and writing. I enjoyed reading books and still do. Originally I wanted to be a teacher until I got to middle school and saw how the other children acted in class and thought, "okay, there's no way I'd be able to do this." So I wasn't sure what I wanted to do and continued through school until my sophomore or junior year of high school. I found out my school had a newspaper class. I thought it was super interesting and something fun to do. I joined my senior year, and it did turn out to be fun! I ended up deciding this is what I want to do!
What types of stories are you looking to cover?
At CrunchBase News, we're split off into different beats. The beats that I cover are FinTech, eCommerce, healthcare, agriculture, and food tech. Most of the stories I cover are funding, like startups announcing new rounds of venture capital. Now we're doing more data-driven journalism and stories based on trends to find out which companies are receiving funding around the same time.
What's your technique for getting scoops, and how do you like to work with sources, and more to the point, PR professionals?
I like to get my scoops by building relationships with PR professionals and even the people working at the venture capital funds themselves. I try to read all the emails I possibly can, but I do a lot of deleting. If I don't respond to your email, that means we don't typically cover what you're pitching. However, if you do make the email more personally directed at me, I'll try to respond if I can. I try to be as honest as possible to build relationships with PR people. Being upfront and honest is important, and although getting a scoop doesn't happen that often, having that relationship and showing a PR person that I'm worthy of an exclusive goes a long way.
What advice do you have for PR professionals pitching you?
One of my first bits of advice would be to look at the medium we're on and what we're working on. The second bit is that now you know what we do, your pitch has to be involving venture capital, and it has to be in the news hook.
If you're sending me a trend tidbit, that's great. I love reading that. But if you're trying to pitch me a new product, company launch, or something like that, it has to have that venture capital round news in it.
As I said, I try to respond to as many emails as possible, so if I don't respond, your pitch is not something that we cover. Follow-ups are great, but if it's been two to three days, then again, I probably won't cover your story.
Getting the same pitch?
I'd rather the PR person pick the best person on CrunchBase to write the story for them because we are on beats, and it's hard to report off of our beats.
How would you improve the news industry? Are things fine with the news industry right now?
In my opinion, there's a lot of mistrust of journalists right now. I think it's because journalists have been so inundated with political news over the last six years. Every news story we've read over the years has been about the government or the president. I don't know about anybody else, but I get kind of tired of reading that news. Now I think we've finally gotten a break from that. There's still news on the government, but I feel like things have been a little quieter. Social media has gotten quieter. But we need to regain trust from readers to improve the news cycle as journalists.
What are some of your favorite hobbies and interests?
I love reading; I haven't been able to do that in a while, though! I also love reading advice columns. They give me a little break from reality for a bit. I also like hanging out with my family.
What makes for a good story?
For us, we're really in that data-driven journalism, really digging into numbers and seeing what's going on. It doesn't always happen, but when the numbers in the database and the numbers align with what you think is happening, it's cool.