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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Media, Darling: Jen Wilson

Jennifer Wilson is the technology and video games editor
at the Toronto Star. When she doesn’t have her nose in her iPhone, she can be
found hitting the sidewalks for a run, shoe shopping or settling in for a good
brunch with friends.





Twitter: @jenwilsonto @torontostar
Website: thestar.com 

Did you
always want to be in the media? If not, what other careers were on the horizon? 
Two left feet meant that my little girl dream of
becoming a ballerina was out of the question – but I wanted to be a writer from
about the age of seven. Working for a newspaper was my first (and only!) real
career dream.
        
Where would you like to be five years from now?
Hopefully no longer working the weekend
shift! But seriously, hopefully I’ll be in a position where I still get to
inform and entertain readers – and both write and edit.
Any advice for people
getting started in your industry?
Be flexible. When I started out, I thought the only
journalism that was interesting was coming from Parliament Hill. But I also had
student loans, so when I got the chance to edit real estate and home décor, I
took it. And I don’t regret it one bit. While it wasn’t my dream job, I learned
to love it, and it gave me the experience I needed to write and edit content a
little closer to my heart. Plus, I’m now a pro at spotting Ikea furniture with
potential — and think I’ve got a pretty sweet Scandinavian inspired condo as a
result.
What
are your favourite media outlets, not including your own?
New York Times, the BBC, the CBC and the Globe and Mail. I also rely on 680 News for breaking alerts and content shared
by friends on Facebook, Twitter and even by good old fashioned email.
Best
interview you’ve ever had?
The most surprising was when I interviewed Vanilla Ice about his home renovation TV show. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I
hadn’t anticipated him having stitches from an ice dancing TV show! He was so
genuine and down to earth in person – the time just flew by.
Worst?
I was sick and hadn’t prepared as much
as I would have liked for a company profile, and the person I was interviewing
was rather nervous. There weren’t many usable quotes from the conversation, and
I had to follow up by email.
Best advice you’ve ever
been given?
  You can
do anything if you put your mind to it. And, it’s only hair – it will grow back.
What rule(s) do you live
your life by?
Say yes. What’s the worst thing that
could happen?
What’s the most important
tip you can give PR pros?
Don’t send me an email with a billion
attachments. Inbox storage is always maxed out – especially around the holidays
– and big files are the first to go when I need to unlock my messages to
send/receive more pressing emails.
Best experience you’ve had
with a PR pro? We love to hear about #wins.
It’s hard to name just one! But there’s
nothing that makes life easier than when you require a very specific source for
a story and the PR pro already anticipated it and made them available.
I
hate?
Accepting that I have limits and am unable to do
something.
I love?
High heels, hockey, long runs and good food. And, of
course, my family and friends.
Reading?
Constantly! In addition to the latest news, I love
picking up magazines and the latest buzz-worthy novels, as well as works of
non-fiction.
Best place on earth?
My parent’s house on Christmas Eve, when
it’s filled with family, friends and all my favourite food.
Dinner
guest?
That’s a tough one. Having just been the holidays, I’m going to go the sappy route and say my best friends and family over a
massive meal, with a good selection of desserts.
Hero?
I’ve been lucky to have many strong women who have
inspired me, including my mother and my grandmothers. On a broader scale, I’ve always admired Amelia Earhart’s adventurous streak – I feel like she was the
kind of woman who would, perhaps somewhat stubbornly, tackle any challenge
head-on.
Favourite app (or whatever
you are downloading these days)?
I’m still giddy over getting Google Maps
back on my iPhone. I have a terrible sense of direction and was, quite
literally, lost without it.
Pool or ocean?
Ocean, hands down. I’m a Nova Scotia
girl, and nothing compares to the salt air, the waves and the surf.
Voicemail
or email?
Always email. I always have my
smartphone in hand and am always on top of my inboxes. I’m way more likely to
reply to an email than pick up a phone call at any given moment.

Yum Yum: Lamesa

With such a diverse and international population,  it follows that Toronto’s restaurant scene is equally as varied. Expanding our palate through discovering a new type of ethnic cuisine is one of our favourite flavour pursuits. We’d never tried Filipino food before and, perhaps more embarrassingly, knew even less about what it entailed. When we’d spied Lamesa taking over the old Rosebud space, just down the street from our office (at 669 Queen St. W.), we figured it was a sign to explore new culinary territory!


Exterior on Queen St. W.



Lamesa’s menu changes daily, reflecting food available locally and seasonally, and combines traditional Filipino dishes with French cooking techniques for a dynamic and unusual dining experience. The menu is available a la carte, but our server explained the 5-course prix fixe was the best bang for your buck. At only $35, the prix fixe was a done deal; particularly as we wanted to try as many things as possible. 


We’re obsessed with Lamesa’s custom mural. 



Filipino cuisine is a mash-up of many culinary techniques, including Chinese, Malaysian and Spanish. We started with an amuse bouche of a risotto-like one bite hit of delicious. First course was the Halo Halo Sisig, a blend of beef, pork and chicken mixed with ginger and chiles, topped with a fried egg and Filipino pico de gallo. Our server suggested cutting up the egg and mixing it all together, so we did. We also tried their soup of the day, a creamy mung bean soup topped with pulled duck confit and apples. Would be hard pressed deciding between the two starters, so were glad our dining buddy was willing to share.


Halo Halo Sisig makes an excellent case for eggs for dinner. 
For our mains we had the Pritong Manok, crispy, battered chicken drizzled with an Adobo gastrique/reduction, and the Short Rib Nilaga, braised beef served over cabbage and a bone marrow, potato puree. While we tend to love anything fried, we were partial to the tenderness of the braised beef. The French braising technique, combined with the South Asian flavouring, was an unexpected delight.

So much fried chicken-y goodness.

The pre-dessert (oh, you read that right) was delicate house-made dark and white chocolate bites, with caramel drizzled on the plate. We completed our dinner with two desserts, including a Ginataan with sweet taro chips which is a sweet, coconut milk traditional dessert. The desserts were not the highlight of the meal, but were the most unfamiliar dishes of the night. 

We were impressed by the staff’s attentiveness and knowledge. They were happy to explain any questions about our meal and were able to provide knowledgeable answers in regards to anything cuisine-specific. We loved the prix fixe, both for its value and the range of food items it allows you to try. If you’re curious about Filipino food, this place is a must-try.

Media, Darling: Elio Iannacci

Elio Iannacci is an award-winning journalist and FASHION magazine’s Features Editor. He is also a regular contributor to Maclean’s
magazine and has had work published in
The Globe and Mail, National Post
and
The Toronto Star. As one of Canada’s most qualified and experienced fashion
and pop culture experts, he has had the opportunity to speak to some of the
world’s most fascinating people. 



Included in his list of interviews are iconic
names that range from Karl Lagerfeld to Lady Gaga, Beyoncé Knowles to Madonna
and Oscar-winner Kate Winslet, alongside acclaimed food author Nigella Lawson.
Elio has also been featured on a number of television shows, including
CNN
Showbiz Tonight,
MTV Canada, Much Music, ETalk and Entertainment Tonight.





Did you always want to be in the media? If not, what other
careers were on the horizon?

Magazines, chap books, comic books and zines were my lifelines when I was
growing up. I was always fascinated by who put them together, who was covered
in them and how they were produced. I would have been a DJ, a librarian or a
costume archivist if I didn’t get into the writing/editing game.


Any advice for people getting started in your industry?

Act like a brand and people will treat you like a product. Spend more time reading than tweeting.


What are your favourite media outlets, not including your own? 

I read about three to five magazines a day (I have subscriptions to Vogue, Out, Entertainment
Weekly, The New Yorker, The Economist, The Advocate, Broken Pencil
and Interview)
and I typically keep a pound or two of poetry books, chap books, short story
collections and lit anthologies around me at all times. Online, I visit the
dailies and too many blogs to mention.


Best interviews you’ve ever had?

Sophia Loren, Karl Lagerfeld, David Sedaris, Lady Gaga, Annie Lennox, Eartha
Kitt, Patti Smith and Wayne Koestenbaum.


Worst?

Sean Combs. He answered his mobile during the whole interview and was too
distracted to answer any questions properly.


Best advice you’ve ever been given?

“You should always know when you’re shifting gears in life. You should leave
your era; it should never leave you.” c/o Leontyne Price.


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

Take vacations. Workaholics make the absolute worst writers and editors. The
best ideas are the ones you find while you are taking a couple days off and
living life outside of the office.


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

Read the magazine, website or newspaper you are trying to work with before you
send any emails or make any calls.


Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about #wins.

TIFF seems to bring out the extra-crazy in everyone—especially during the end
of it. I will never forget how Debra Goldblatt was able to gracefully keep it
together, while juggling four films on the last day of the fest in 2009, and manage
to squeeze in two last-minute interviews for me without complaining.


I hate?
 
                      
All fifty shades of grey.


I love?

Fact checkers, librarians, artists, poets and anyone who is an advocate for the
arts.


Reading?

Personals, a book of poetry by Ian Williams. Lynn Crosbie’s gripping Life is
about losing everything. An anthology of short stories called New Stories From
The South
(edited by Amy Hempel).


Best place on earth?

Sardinia.


Dinner guests?

Maria Callas, Jackie Onassis, Roisin Murphy, Gareth Pugh, Grace Jones, Annie
Lennox, John Parot, Alfred Corn, Truman Capote and Hedi Slimane.


Heroes?

Langston Hughes, Frank O’Hara and Lou Grant.


Favourite app (or whatever you are downloading these days)?

QuickVoice — an app that records interviews and changed my life.


Pool or ocean?

Both. I swim a mean breast stroke.


Voicemail or email?

50/50.