Media Darling: Domini Clark

Domini Clark is the Travel Editor of
The Globe and Mail. She’s worked for the newspaper for 11 years, where she’s
worn many hats in news, arts and life, plus had a stint running the Style
section. Besides travelling the world (17 countries, all 10 provinces and 25 U.S. states and counting), her passions include
baking and boxing. She’s also more than a little obsessed with
J. Crew.

Twitter: @saradomini
Website: www.theglobeandmail.com/life/travel/

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

I
always wanted to be a journalist – no dreams of being a teacher or vet like
many little girls. In grade three, my teacher had us write picture books and then
attend an event called the Young Author’s Conference, where we could choose
different speakers to listen to. I obviously attended the reporter’s lecture
and spoke to her afterward, because she signed my book, “Hope to see your
byline some day.” That pretty much sealed it. Then in Grade 11, as I struggled
through math class, I remember thinking, “Why am I here? I don’t need this
credit for journalism school.” I put down my pencil, grabbed my books and walked
out. (Of course, now whenever there are numbers in a story I’m so paranoid I do
the math about five times to make sure I have it right.)

Where
would you like to be five years from now?

I
just want to be happy and healthy. Life has thrown me too many curveballs to
pin my hopes on anything else.

Any
advice for people getting started in your industry?

Learn
how to tell a compelling story on myriad platforms: newspaper, video, social
media, radio, etc. The best journalists today are well rounded and comfortable
in several mediums. And when you get your first job, please, please don’t act
like you know everything. Confidence is great, and new ideas are always
welcome, but you are still going to have a lot to learn. I’m still learning.

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

I’m
a magazine junkie – it’s an addiction I just can’t quit. Obviously Conde Nast Traveler would be at the top of that list. Other than that, I don’t have
outlets I check religiously. I’m always worried I’ll miss something, so I rely
mainly on my Google news feed and people posting interesting stories to Twitter
and Facebook. And I always tune into Friendly Fire on CFRB 1010. (My man is one
of the co-hosts, but it’s still good radio regardless.)

Best
interview you’ve ever had?

When
I had my first interview with The Globe and Mail, I assumed there was no way I
was getting the job. I was still in university and didn’t have a large
portfolio. So I went in figuring I had nothing to lose, and was my usual brash,
opinionated self. When the two interviewers (it was a total good cop/bad cop
setup) asked me to critique the paper, I dove right in. Whatever I said obviously
did the trick. I was offered the job the next day. Just goes to show you should
always be yourself.

Worst?
I
was a little too honest about my prospective co-workers once. (Okay, so maybe
being yourself doesn’t always pay off.) I was asked to interview again,
but this time to play nice. I ended up getting the job, but to this day I resent
having to go through that.

Best
advice you’ve ever been given?

Never
turn down a great opportunity. (Thanks, Dad.)

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

Be
honest. Be yourself. Be informed. Treat others the way you want to be treated.
Oh, and don’t waste calories on grocery-store sheet cake at work parties.

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

Know
who/what you’re pitching to. Read the section and get a feel for the kinds of
stories we run. If you want to grab a coffee some time to chat and get a better
understanding, I’m happy to do that. That’s a better use of my time that
sifting through irrelevant e-mails. When I worked in the Style section I often
got cat food samples, which puzzled me to no end. Where was I supposed to run
cat food stories? Next to the runway shots?

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

When
I worked in the Style section, I’m sure PR folk saved my butt on more than one
occasion. Recently I was on a trip organized by Jared Rodriguez of Victoria King PR in New York. He put so much work into it and was such a dear, dealing
with all my requests and concerns. And then he had to hang out with a disparate
bunch of journos for a week. Some might say that’s one of the circles of hell.

I
hate?

People
who have loud cellphone conversations on the streetcar.

I
love?

Travelling.
Too obvious? How about, standing barefoot on the sheepskin rug I bought in New
Zealand. It’s simply the best feeling.

Reading?
The
Marriage Plot
 by Jeffrey Eugenides. I just want it to be over. I’m about
two-thirds of the way through and I can’t bring myself to finish it but I won’t
let myself start another book until I do. Why I am punishing myself I don’t
fully understand.

Best
place on earth?

That
is an unfair question to ask a travel editor! I am torn between Grenada and
Hawaii. I adore both. And they are both full of plumeria, which I love.
Whenever I smell that scent I’m transported to paradise.

Dinner
guest?

Victoria
Beckham. I suspect she is hilarious. And you know she has some crazy stories.
Plus, if we became friends maybe she’d give me clothing from her fashion line
for free.

Hero?
No
one person in particular. But I have the utmost respect and admiration for
people who have overcome adversity to make life better for themselves and/or
others.

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

I
just downloaded a cool one called Pocketbooth (for iPhone) that lets you take
photobooth-strip-style pictures. It’s perfect for party season.

Pool
or ocean?

Ocean.
No contest.

Voicemail
or email?

Usually
email. But if it’s urgent, call me. I can’t promise I’ll pick up though, but
I’ll get the message.





LGFW: Media, Darling: Stefania Yarhi

Stefania Yarhi is an independent writer/photographer and CEO of Textstyles.ca (recommended reading according to NOW Magazine). She says, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, come sit by me.” But we know she’s a lot nicer than that. 

Twitter: @textstyles

 

What was your favourite class in high school?
I loved my art class. Number one because our teacher Ms. Fularski put all of herself into the program. We studied everything, we played with every medium and she organized a trip to Italy and France. The encouragement I got to pursue my creativity in all forms in that class was enormous.

How did you get your start as a fashion blogger?
I signed up on Blogspot, borrowed my friend’s camera and just started posting.


If you weren’t a Media, Darling, what would you be doing right now?
Wishing I had followed my passions…
Pitching or follow up: Phone or email?
Email, seems no one’s ever on the other end of the line.
We know irrelevant pitches, calling you the wrong name and eight follow-ups are no-no’s; what else should publicists avoid doing?
Misspelling my name! I know it’s not the most common, but really something that takes two seconds shows an extra effort. One I’m likely to pay back.


Sunrise or sunset? Sunrise, especially if it ends your night.
Scent? This will most absolutely offend someone: Pussy. An essential oil from the rasta man in Kensington market.
Cookie? Yum?
Flower? Orchids, blue ones. Not that I’ve ever gotten any.
Ticklish? Yes, and no, I’m not telling you where.
Shower or bath? Shower.
Film? Moonstruck, without a shadow of a doubt.
Crush? Javier Bardem, close second Channing Tatum.
First job? Working for Mama’s Pizza in the food court at the Ex.
Inspiration? The fashion industry.

Teacher’s Pet: On writing and editing

The second question in our new Teacher’s Pet series focuses on the writing and editing process.

I’ve always wondered how much guidance junior staff receive during their first few months of employment/internships. 

What is the typical editing process for a junior PR person before one of his/her press releases or any other written materials are ready to be circulated to press – do senior staff typically look over the work of junior staff and provide them with constructive feedback and help them revise the work, or is it expected that their written material is already perfect?

Shane McKenna (@Shane_McKenna) is currently a Public Relations student at Durham College. We’ve asked a junior and senior staff member to help answer his question, to give two different perspectives.

Abby – Publicity Co-ordinator
At rock-it, we have a great process in place for editing work, and everyone pitches in with editing and writing help (whether junior or senior). I’ve found that my writing has gotten stronger, because my team is great at giving constructive feedback. 
Typically, I write a release, submit it to someone for an edit, and they will track their changes when they send it back to me. This helps me see where improvements were made and understand why something was re-worded. Then, it goes for a final edit with either Lisa (Publicity Manager), or Debra (President), then to the client for approval, and finally, to the media. Lots of steps along the way help catch any mistakes.
When I started, I did receive guidance from the team. However, I think it’s important that you can get started without a lot of guidance. It can be a little overwhelming, but you have to jump in and just give it a shot – whether or not someone is showing you every step along the way. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes; it’s how you learn. If you have a good team, they’ll help you learn from your mistakes, rather than criticizing you.  
Lisa – Publicity Manager
First, some background! I studied Journalism – Print and Broadcast at Durham College, where I learned really valuable writing skills. Then, I was hired by the campus Communications and Marketing Department, where my main role was writing and editing – and knowledge of CP Style was a must.
Being a strong writer was definitely an asset when I made the move to rock-it – I was able to teach other team members some easy ways to improve their writing. Now, I hold the unofficial role of copy editor at rock-it, though the process from taking a first draft to a final copy distributed to media is a team effort.
Most agencies recognize that junior staff are still learning the ropes, with everything from pitching to building lists to writing promotional materials. While it’s not expected that junior writing will be perfect, there are a few steps you can take to a) show your employer you value strong writing, b) begin to recognize errors and look up how to correct them, and c) save the editor time. It’s okay to make mistakes here and there – it’s part of the learning process! But there are five tips to make sure you’re submitting your best work possible.

1. Consult the CP Style and CP Caps and Spelling books. If you truly can’t locate a rule within these resources, flag it for your editor – that way, they know you made the effort to find the answer, and they’ll see that you know when to check reference guides.

2. Make a list of information to include. Writing a press release? Make sure you include the 5 Ws! It’s surprising how often crucial information is left out or forgotten.

3. If your senior staffer doesn’t go over their changes with you, ask them to sit down with you and explain. Send a friendly email to book a mutually convenient time for the two of you to discuss the changes that were made.

4. Take notes to ensure you are not making the same error every time you submit something for editing. After two or three corrections, it’s expected that you will remember the rule going forward.

5. The most important piece of advice is to take constructive criticism seriously, but not personally. Let’s face it – working in the communications industry, there is a lot of writing. Rather than dread or avoid it, embrace it. You senior staffers will notice when you put extra effort into improving your skills, which will only work to your benefit. 

Oh, and in the words of a former professor, “Spell check is free on your computer. Use it!”

Good luck!