Media, Darling: Natalia Manzocco

Natalia Manzocco heads up the Homes section and
copy edits at 24 Hours Canada, and writes about fashion and technology for QMI
Agency and Sun Media newspapers. In her “spare time” (a term she uses
extremely loosely) she plays guitar in The Cheap Speakers.



image source: Natalia Manzocco

Did you always want to be in the media? If not, what
other careers were on the horizon?
In grade four, I wrote and designed my own one-page
“newspaper” full of book reviews and handed it out at school. I
probably should have seen this coming, all things considered. 
Things really crystallized in high school, when I learned
that the drummer from Barenaked Ladies (my preteen heroes — I was about as cool
as you might expect) went to Ryerson for radio and television studies. Further
investigation revealed that Ryerson had a well-known journalism program, and
there it was. Thanks, Tyler.
Where would you like to be five years from now?
Surrounded by lifestyle content ’round the clock, working
on putting together a beautiful, engaging and fun product (print, magazine, web
— wherever).
Any advice for people getting started in your industry?
Meet lots of people, be nice to them, and expand your
network of contacts. You never know what doors will open. 
Be prepared to go where the opportunities are; I was
lucky enough to find internships and summer jobs that took me to Calgary and
New Brunswick. Let the wind blow you around.
What are your favourite media outlets, not including your
own?
Truth be told, I probably spend
more time reading the exploits of Twitter’s army of wisecracking Torontonians
than any established media source. But I typically go to the Toronto Star for breaking
news, the New York Times for feats of long-form daring, the Globe and Mail for
a little of each of those things, and Refinery29 and The Cut for fashion
content. I also have severe Lucky Magazine problems. If it takes too long to
show up in my mailbox I start twitching.
Best interview you’ve ever had?
Notable sweet, chatty people include Jason Reitman, Josh
Ritter, and Jay Ferguson from Sloan.
Worst?
I interviewed the drummer from a hardcore band who had
just released his own solo record. He sat reclined on the green room couch with
his feet up and responded to all of my questions like so: Yah. No. Yah. Every
drummer joke I’ve ever heard: validated.
Best advice you’ve ever been given?
I’ve been given plenty, but I also have the memory of a
goldfish. Much the stuff that has stuck with me can be found in the lyrics to
Nada Surf’s 2005 album The Weight Is A Gift.
What rule(s) do you live your life by?
Don’t be afraid to take the shot. If you find a door,
give it a wee push and see what happens.
What’s the most important tip you can give PR pros?
This is just going to end up being a list of pet peeves.
I apologize in advance.
– Please don’t call and follow up on a pitch you sent me
that morning. My focus is so limited (homes, tech, style) that I just may not
be able to utilize the pitch you’ve sent. If I can, though, you’ll certainly be
hearing back from me!
– You don’t really need to put my name on the press
release. Personal touches are great, but I completely understand if you want to
reduce the odds of slipping up on the ol’ copy-paste and calling me Terry or
Steve or, God forbid, Natalie.
– If you’re sending releases and samples in the mail,
please don’t use a box big enough to fit a flat press release into when all
you’re mailing along is a tiny, tiny lipstick. Get a padded envelope. Get rid of
that fancy folder. Anything. I CAN HEAR TREES WEEPING.
Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear
about #wins.
Much of what I do is pretty on-the-fly, so when I send an
email frantically seeking high-res art or a product’s Canadian
availability/MSRP and the rep gets right back to me, I tell you, the angels
sing. I try not to assume that everyone’s at their desk ready to help me out
all of the time, but it’s absolutely marvelous when someone is prepared with
all the necessary info and materials and can get you out of a tight jam.
I hate?
Copy editor hours. Getting to wake up late is pretty
great, but I will unfortunately never be able to attend anyone’s awesome
late-afternoon event. Gotta build me a paper.
I love?
Polka dots, stripes, glittery stuff, Fender guitars with
matching headstocks, Blanche de Chambly, and my cat (who is himself striped).
Reading?
I still need to finish Grace Coddington’s autobiography,
which I was distracted from a couple weeks ago. The last one before that was
Who I Am by Pete Townshend. Next on deck is The Good Girls Revolt: How theWomen of Newsweek Sued their Bosses and Changed the Workplace by Lynn Povich.
Best place on earth?
Zingerman’s deli in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Dinner guest?
My dad, from whom I inherited all of my foodie
tendencies. I would bring my A and A+ games for that meal.
Hero?
Novelist/YouTuber John Green, Lena Dunham, Jenna Lyons,
and Electric Six lead singer Dick Valentine. And my mum. And Keith Moon.
Favourite app (or whatever you are downloading these
days)?
I’m a bit of a beer nerd; lately I’ve been tracking all
the brews I sample through Untappd, which is a fun little social media app that
lets you rate and review beers, check in to wherever you drank them, and earn
badges, Foursquare-style. Thanks to the guys at C’est What for most of the stuff
on my “tried” list. I’ll see you tonight, probably.
Pool or ocean?
Ocean. You can actually sit and hang out by the ocean and
enjoy it without having to actually get in (something I would prefer to avoid).
Pools are significantly less fun to observe.
Voicemail or email?
Email, always.


image source: Natalia Manzocco
“The internet loves cats”
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