Here am I interviewing TV film critics Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert at a direct marketing conference, circa 1984.
I interviewed Gerry Ferraro in August 1983, 2 weeks before her name started popping as a potential vice presidential candidate. I later covered her husband's trial, convicting him of corruption.
A Reporter's Life
I knew I was going to be a journalist after seeing All the President's Men in 1976, the year I graduated from high school. The first substantial piece of journalism I did was an investigative article about toxic chemical pollution on Long Island for the magazine published by the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG).
The assignment was my ulterior motive for knocking on doors for 4 months to raise money in support of NYPIRG's various environmental policies. After completing the article, I quit the minimum-wage canvassing job, even though on any given night I was typically able to get strangers to part with $400 in 4 hours. From this experience, I realized I can be persuasive when I needed to be.
Paying my dues, I worked for $15 a story at a community weekly and edited the resort newspaper the Fire Island News in the summer of 1983.
New York Times articles
Eighteen months after graduating from Hofstra University with a journalism degree, I wrote six articles for The New York Times on important social issues, including First Amendment vs. property rights; higher education; and drug abuse.
My encounter with actor Ed Asner at a congressional candidate's fundraiser led to me interviewing him for Rolling Stone. Ed and I met again 35 years later for another piece on his views about drugs and marijuana.
Following a year-long pit stop at Penn State to get my master's degree in journalism, I held top editing jobs at various trade publications covering cable television; and consumer electronics. I was also served as a Washington, DC bureau chief, covering the White House, Congress, FCC, and U.S. Supreme Court during the tail end of the Reagan presidency.
I never stopped freelancing on topics I found interesting, such as organ transplants for Parade magazine, delving into music festival safety, or commenting about social media's impact on the fear of crime for an academic psychology journal.
Much of my writing has been business-focused, delving into advertising (e.g., Madmen); entertainment packaging; consumer goods like toothbrushes for tweens and beef, digital media (e.g., Sting app), bringing light to off-the-grid African and Asian communities; environmental issues; state-of-the-art audio in a landmark house of worship; solar energy, or politics on TV.
I often gravitate to the arts, and have had the privilege to interview well-known directors including Michael Apted, Peter Bogdanovich, John Waters, and producer/studio chief Robert Evans, and lesser-known filmmakers. I also enjoy writing about theater, everything from big Broadway to Off-Broadway and fringe productions.
I enjoy writing editorials and opinion pieces about such topics as diversity & inclusion, combatting white supremacy, the stupidity of format wars by electronics giants ("Royalties & Egos"); and the plight of adjunct professors.
Much of my career has been focused on the media business, such as cable television and radio to currently streaming. Published articles include: even Thomas Edison recognizing the importance of hearing is believing, cable TV networks saving box office duds from oblivion, setting up home theaters, legally questionable "black" boxes, digital audio options, the music industry grappling with digital disruption; a commentary about retired Sony Corp. CEO Howard Stringer being an affable integrator; filling the aural void between a CD and hi-res DVD-Audio or Super Audio CD; and "Big Data" delivering targeted ads to consumers of streaming services based on their web surfing.
PR and Copywriting
Throughout my career, I've done both journalism and PR, but those lines don't blur, and I adhere to professional standards of conflicts of interest. I've also worked as a senior copywriter at a digital maarketing agency. I am a work-for-hire who's open to offers, and mindful of who is paying me.
For example, a long-time client has been SolarUnited, a trade association of technology companies that manufacture the components that go into solar panels and was formerly known as the International Photovoltaic Equipment Association (IPVEA). I edit SolarUnited's newsletters (see left) and provide other marketing materials, such as white papers and press releases.
Here's an example of my PR placement acumen. IndimusicTV was celebrating its first anniversary. I knew it was a good story for Multichannel News, but they didn't have the freelance budget to pay me. So I sent the executive editor my press release, which resulted in this piece. IndiMusicTV was ecstatic. Pro Sound News also was interested in IndiMusic's recording studio. Earlier, they ran a press release I wrote about an independent band recording at Abbey Road in London (see below), both made possible through my professional relationships with editors.
The state of journalism and publishing over the past 2 decades or so prompted me to consider other writing opportunities outside of the traditional reporting model. All good writing, no matter the medium, requires storytelling skills that communicate ideas which the reader will remember.
Over the past three decades, I've written about nearly any subject you can think of. Who knows what's next? Maybe your business? I look forward to finding out.
Monster Music liked an article I wrote about them so much for an audio/video magazine that they hired me to be on retainer for a year, resulting in advertisements (see right), interviews with endorsing musicians such as Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick, and liner notes for music legends George Benson & Al Jarreau, as well as Sergio Mendes.