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For Rebecca Hale, the biggest difference between life in the newsroom and her Repurposed Life as Director of Public Information for The Seattle Mariners is time.

“You have time to plan. Things aren’t always tied to a deadline. In a newsroom, every minute’s your next deadline.”

 

Seattle is where Rebecca Hale made the Big Leagues.

Rebecca Hale Dan Leach and other KIRO coleagues

(Hale center, pictured with KIRO colleagues, among them Dan Leach, Sharon Vale, Molly Watkins, Tim Haeck, Tom Glasgow and Donn Moyer)

It’s been 24 years since Rebecca Hale worked in a newsroom. But this Idaho native and Oregon State University grad earned her solid reputation as an anchor and reporter from 1984 to 1993 at KIRO news radio (CBS Seattle). After leaving KIRO, she took a job as Public Information Officer at the Seattle Public Library. “I had a soft landing.” After that, Hale served as Assistant Communication Director and Speechwriter and then as Director of Communications for Mayor Norm Rice.. Nineteen years ago, she joined the Mariners. Hale says, “It feels like it’s gone by in a flash. 20 years. Blink and it’s over –  Almost 20 years. “

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The biggest change she says, No breaking news. “It was a different pace.” At the Seattle Public Library you won’t get called out for an emergency literacy story,” she says. “There’s a schedule.”

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And now Rebecca Hale works mainly behind the scenes. If anyone has a microphone in front of them it’s usually not her. “I don’t do a lot of interviews. I try to have other people do the interviews. And that’s ok by me,” she said during our conversation between pitches at a recent game between the Philadelphia Phillies and the M’s.

“My family moved around a lot but Idaho’s always been home base.” After broadcasting stints in Vancouver, Washington and Boise, a former co-worker, Dan Leach called her from KIRO News radio to say the overnight gig was available. She jumped at the chance.

Hale made her mark as a reporter and anchor at KIRO FM, moving from overnights to weekend morning anchor and general assignment reporter before finally moving to weekend afternoons. She can’t remember all the awards she won. “A few,” she’ll tell you. One in particular was a UPI National Award for Use of Sound in a feature she did on Bo Jackson. Hale says she also got to meet White House correspondent Helen Thomas once.

Some nice highlights. But they all seem to blur through the lens of time. It all goes by so fast. Or maybe former journalists only notice how fast it is when they leave the newsroom.

“Journalism is being able to do things fast.” Rebecca Hale says that’s served her well in her professional life after her news career. “In newsrooms, you don’t have the luxury of time. You have to be able to work fast and juggle things. In the job I have here, when it gets hectic, I’m able to manage it without feeling overwhelmed.”

“You have to figure stuff out. And I’m not worried when I don’t know about a subject. I just keep digging around until I find out. I was in a newsroom for 12 years.” That’s a lot of experience digging.

And Hale still writes. “In my current job, I get to write a lot and spend time on each piece. For one story, I can talk to a dozen people. I write press releases and blog posts.” And Hale writes for Mariners Magazine (see below). “I get to interview people all the time.”

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What’s it like to work with reporters today? Rebecca Hale says some (one man bands) are being asked to do way too much and they don’t ever have any time. Hale says there seem to be more in broadcasting than in print. She adds, “They have jobs with more demands.” Very often, I’ll come away from an interview and I’ll wonder, “Why didn’t they ask this question, or that question?” It feels sometimes like I have to spoon feed reporters today.” And sadly, she says, all too often, there’s a herd mentality. “If you can help one of them to go on a story, it seems like everybody wants to jump on it.” But Hale says, “I still really like my job. It’s been 19 plus years out of the newsroom but I still really never know from day to day, what‘s going to happen and I like that.” And she likes the energy of her co-workers. “We have so many young people who work here.”

As for this year’s Mariners? Hale says, “It really feels like this team is going to explode. The first three months we had so many injuries. But this really could be our year to make the playoffs again. Jerry’s so smart and Scott Servais is keeping it even. It’s been fun to watch.” But when the team is hovering around .500 and flirting with another mediocre season, you have to take that fun when you can get it.

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As we were wrapping up the conversation for this piece, at that Phillies, M’s game, I asked Rebecca Hale if I could take her picture with Safeco Filed in the background. I told her it’d be better if she stood and smiled. A picture of her smiling with the sunny expanse of Safeco behind her was what I was looking for. She asked me to wait until everyone’s standing. “I don’t want to block anyone’s view just for a picture.” Just minutes later Seattle Mariner Robinson Cano homered to right field. The crowd stood up. I got my picture. And there was Rebecca Hale, another Repurposed Journalist who’d made the Big Leagues … smiling.

 

Lindsay Cohen - Zillow

Lindsay Cohen – Writer & On Camera Host – Zillow

When she was a rookie reporter, Seattle’s Lindsay Cohen dreamed of a day when one of her stories would air on NBC’s Today Show.  Though every young journalist has similar dreams, no matter how good you are, the odds of that happening are long, the chances – slim. But every journalist seems to start out with a lot of hope. There are so many stories to tell.

Cohen got her undergrad degree in Communications Studies in 2001 from Northwestern and her Master of Science in Journalism from Columbia University in New York in 2002. She went on to land her first job in television news at Albany New York’s WNYT as an anchor-reporter in 2002, moving in 2005 to a similar job at WPEC in West Palm Beach, Florida.  In July of 2009, she started a 7-year stint at Seattle’s KOMO 4 TV  (ABC News) where she won a number of Emmy Awards for reporting excellence. But three months ago, Cohen left the KOMO 4 newsroom to become a Senior Real Estate Writer and On-Camera Host for Zillow, the Seattle-based tech real estate site. Cohen says, “I made the right next step.”

While the move was bittersweet, she says she’s still storytelling. “I still get to work with photographers and editors,” adding, “I still do interviews. And I get to tell people’s stories in a meaningful way.” In a normal week at Zillow, Lindsay Cohen will talk with people living in a tiny home or a re-purposed Airstream; she’ll write a ‘House of the Week’ feature or  look for ways to make your home improvement money go farther or a story about the Most Shared Zillow Listing in 2017. One day she’ll be working on a feature about a home design inspired by Hobbits; the next, she’ll be writing about a celebrity home owned by movie star Jared Leno.  And then there’s the story she produced about a castle for sale just outside New York City entitled, I Spent Two Days in a Castle Just Outside NYC. “I’m amazed at the variety,” she says, “and how I can still tell stories that make a difference.”

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While Cohen says she was sad to leave friends and co-workers at KOMO 4, she’s glad she left TV news when she did. She says she wanted to spend more time with her family. “And I looked at how my friends were getting their news – on their phones.” Cohen adds, “There’s a way to tap into how news consumption is changing.”

 

Lindsay Cohen says she was considering other on-line companies like Amazon and Facebook but then a friend told her about Zillow.  What drew her in, she says, is noticing how Zillow was investing in new types of storytelling. Cohen says, “Zillow is growing the content team as they develop for written and social media.” And as she found out more about Zillow she thought, “There are a lot of happy people here.” In March, Cohen left TV news to join Zillow, where her stories run on Zillow’s site, their partner sites, on social media — and even on televisions. Zillow has an app on Apple TV.

Lindsay Cohen - Former KOMO 4 News ReporterAs for making the transition out of the newsroom, she says, “You never know until you try it. Sometimes you have to make that leap. It’s ok to recognize that the world is changing. I feel lucky that I found a place that lets me explore that.”Cohen is convinced she made the right decision. In fact, for many stories she’s reaching a bigger audience than the one she reached with KOMO 4. She says one recent piece on the Zillow website drew millions of hits.

And then there’s the view from Zillow’s offices near Seattle’s Pike Place Market.

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Elliott Bay View From Zillow Offices in Seattle

Every morning she looks out onto beautiful Elliott Bay, far from the blare of newsroom scanners. Lindsay Cohen sips her morning coffee and thinks, “This isn’t bad at all.” Cohen adds, “Sometimes the best decisions in life are the ones staring you right in the face.”

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On Saturday June 3rd, Lindsay Cohen, a newly repurposed journalist, was among her former KOMO 4 peers at the 54th Annual Northwest Regional Emmy Awards Banquet. A story Cohen did was nominated for yet another Emmy. She’s lost track how many nominations she has.

And remember that kid who always wanted to see her stories on the Today Show? Well a few weeks ago, Lindsay Cohen says one of her posts for Zillow was picked up by none other than NBC Today’s website.

Lindsay Cohen can be reached on Twitter at @lindsaycohen and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ByLindsayCohen/

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Caregiver’s Dream

Posted: October 18, 2016 in employment

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=vr-NPEbnVwk

In my role as Public Relations Director for Aegis Living, a leader in the assisted living field, I got a chance recently to produce this short video about our extraordinary caregivers. They are the heart of this remarkable company.

Trends in the music business mean musicians like Seattle’s Kitt Bender are finding new ways to bring their music to their fans. Bender will bring it right to your door.

Video  —  Posted: March 23, 2014 in local culture, music
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http://www.gofundme.com/VisualPeacemaking

Global Washington 2013 Conference

Global Washington 2013 Conference

You’ve just spent the last few years of your life working hard to get your non-profit up and running. You’ve invested a couple hundred dollars to attend an international conference filled with your non-profit peers. Now you’re standing up in front of hundreds of them, basically a room of strangers, and you’re told you have two minutes to tell your story.

Go.

That was the scene earlier this week when a group of nine intrepid spokespeople lined up before a luncheon crowd at the Global Washington Annual Conference at Seattle’s Bell Harbor Conference Center. It was billed as the Fast Pitch Presentations.

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Reps were there from a local micro-enterprise non-profit, a development group, a reproductive rights organization, a sustainable fishing group along with a handful of other advocates. Almost all seemed a little nervous but when each got the “go” sign … there really wasn’t time for nerves. There was just 120 seconds.

The audience felt for the plight of the group of nine who lined up near the stage, waiting for their two minutes. But the
exercise illustrates a deeper truth. Very often, you don’t have that much time to grab someone’s attention and tell your story, no matter how important you think it is. We live in a world of short attention spans.

Bell Harbor Conference Center - Seattle, WA

Bell Harbor Conference Center – Seattle, WA

Seattle’s Randi Hedin went first. Hedin is a corporate lawyer by training. Today she’s the founder for Seattle buildOn, an international nonprofit organization that runs youth service after school programs in United States high schools, and builds schools in developing nations.

photo courtesy: buildOn

photo courtesy: buildOn

Hedin volunteered, “because I’m working hard to get the word out.” She says she wasn’t nervous because she was prepared and knew her talking points. She says she didn’t feel hurried either. “I worked hard with classmates” (in a Substantive International Law masters class at the University of Washington Law School).

Randi Hedin buildOn Board Member

Randi Hedin
buildOn Board Member

Her preparation showed. She’d picked a catchy title: “Who Ate My School? The Compelling Need for Schools in Developing Countries.” In the two minutes she had, Hedin focused on the need to keep schools in the developing world from falling into such disrepair that cows would graze on the weeds and grass growing on the property. The title of the talk grabbed attention, the pitch was short and to the point. She got a big round of applause.

Was it hard to capsulize the length, breadth and mission of an international non profit in just 120 seconds? “No”, says Hedin. “I just picked a piece of the puzzle and told that part of our story.” Hedin says it was a great way to organize because it forced her to focus on the “most important messages.”

There’s a lesson in the Fast Pitch.
1. Know your story.
2. Focus on the most important points.
3. Keep your pitch short
4. Know when to get off the stage.

Sometimes all you need is two minutes to tell your story. Sometimes, that’s all you get.

Mike Gastineau

Mike Gastineau

Seattle’s Mike Gastineau remembers the date, October 7th, 2012. That’s when it came to him. He’d just seen the Seattle Sounders beat their arch-rival, the Portland Timbers along with the wildly enthusiastic Emerald City Supporters, behind the south goal at Century Link Field. After the 3-0 win, the thought followed him as he walked to his car.

“This is a great story. I have to tell it.”

Earlier that fall, Gastineau had made the decision to leave his job at Seattle’s KJR 950 AM sports radio station as an announcer. Now he was consumed with the need to tell this story. “What better way than with a book”, he thought.

A year later, the result is a new book, “Sounders FC: AUTHENTIC MASTERPIECE: The Inside Story Of The Best Launch in American Sports.”
http://www.amazon.com/Sounders-FC-AUTHENTIC-MASTERPIECE-Franchise/dp/1491068345/ref=zg_bs_16638_5

The book (Gastineau’s first, with a forward by Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl) is a must for any Sounders fan who wants a behind-the-scenes look at how the Seattle Sounders have become the talk of, or some would say the envy of, the rest of Major League Soccer. “Seattle’s the New York Yankees of this league”, says Gastineau. “We’ve got the money because we draw the fans.”

That success was no accident as “Authentic Masterpiece” reveals. The secret? According to Gastineau, Sounders management knew they couldn’t rely only on Seattle’s soccer moms and dads, a rich vein by itself. Sounders research showed that, “The last thing a lot of soccer moms and dads wanted to do after watching their kid play was … watch more soccer”, says Gastineau. “What Seattle did was go to places like The Atlantic Crossing in Seattle’s U-District and Fremont’s George & Dragon Pub, places where legions of hard-core soccer fans would pack bars at 7am on a weekend morning to see English Premier League soccer.” Mike says, “That’s a hard-core, underserved fan base. They (Seattle Sounders) really focused on who were fans of the sport.”

And then that October night at CenturyLink Field came back to him. He remembered the feeling of watching a Seattle sporting event for two hours, on your feet. That revelation leads to another secret to the Sounders’ success. “It wasn’t the fact that the Sonics left town”, says Mike. “It was the Mariners’ mediocrity.” Mike Gastineau says, “If Seattle sports fans had entertaining baseball to distract them, it would have been a different story.”

And if there’s one thing a repurposed sports announcer like Mike Gastineau knows, it’s a good story. His new book tells this one with authenticity and passion, like a night behind the south goal with the Emerald City Supporters.

Emerald City Supporters

Emerald City Supporters