Media, Darling: Susan Catto

Susan Catto is deputy editor of Hello! Canada and
has been with the magazine since 2009. After studying at Columbia and Oxford,
she returned to her native Toronto and became a freelance journalist with
regular gigs at the
New York Times,
the
Economist.com, TIME Canada and Lucky. Susan lives in the east end with her husband and two young
kids.




Did you always want to be in the media? If not, what other careers were on the horizon?
As soon
as I discovered magazines, I wanted to be a freelance writer. I did a detour,
earning a doctorate (in eighteenth-century literature, yay!) and even teaching
university courses for two years. I was freelancing at the same time, though,
and journalism always felt like a privilege, not a job. It was a pretty easy
call to make.

Where
would you like to be five years from now?

Still finding my work as interesting and challenging as I do now. 

Any
advice for people getting started in your industry?
Read a
newspaper every day — and if you read it online, at least scan each headline,
don’t just click on the stories you are already interested in. Young people who
are curious and well-informed with good general knowledge really stand out. The
people you are working for or pitching to may be decades older and it helps to
understand their cultural reference points. Plus, life is just more interesting
when you know stuff!

What are your favourite media outlets, not
including your own?
For work, Celebitchy
and the Daily Mail; for fun, The New Yorker and HBO Canada

Best
interview you’ve ever had?

I recently interviewed Joan Rivers, which was a kick because I had interned on
her talk show when I was in university. She didn’t remember me, of course, but
it made for a nice rapport and she was as funny, frank and interesting as you
would expect.

Worst?
As a
stringer for the
New York Times I once had to knock on doors in rural Muskoka
— at night — trying to find a guy who’d just been accused of child molesting.
didn’t find him but just thinking of what that interview would have been like is bad enough. 



 Best advice you’ve ever been given? 


“No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money.” 



What
rule(s) do you live your life by? 

Find the bright side and practice gratitude.



What’s
the most important tip you can give PR pros?


Get to know what we do and don’t cover so you can tailor your pitch to our
magazine.



Best
experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about #wins.
I
screwed up the time of my Joan Rivers interview and Lia Caponecchia at the
Shopping Channel had to take the flack for it…but still helped me get a new
slot. Lifesaver!


I hate?
People
who are routinely rude or dismissive. Are they really so important/stressed out
that general standards of politeness don’t apply to them?


I love?
Godiva
dark chocolate-covered pretzels.

Reading?
Yes,
compulsively and indiscriminately…


Best place on earth?

Outer Banks, N.C.


Dinner guest?


Hero?
Tina Fey.


Favourite app (or whatever you are downloading these days)?
Netflix,
to catch up on the first few seasons of Breaking
Bad
.


Pool or ocean?
Ocean,
no contest!


Voicemail or email?

Email.

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