September 19, 2016
Members of the media and PR pros can be friends. Yes, really. That sentiment is the basis behind the “Media Monthly,” a Q&A that gives our blog readers a better insight into some of our favorite journalists. We ask some questions and our media pals weigh in.
This month, we’re happy to introduce you to Jeanne Muchnick, features editor at Daily Voice. Jeanne started her journalism career at Seventeen Magazine, eventually moving to editorial positions at Good Housekeeping, Woman’s World and Woman’s Day. She turned to the freelance world – and eventually to the local media – after moving to the burbs with her family, where she wrote for both national and local publications and websites. Before joining Daily Voice, she was an editor at The Journal News and a food columnist for Westchester Magazine.
1. Jeanne, thanks for being our guest this month. Can you tell us a bit more about the Daily Voice?
Daily Voice is a network of 76 hyperlocal websites catering to seven suburban counties: Dutchess, Putnam, Rockland, Westchester – all in New York – as well as Fairfield County in Connecticut and Bergen and Passaic Counties in New Jersey. We pride ourselves on reporting stories that affect people in their hometowns. We cover a lot of neighbor stories – after all, it’s people who make the community. Business profiles, local events and, of course, breaking news, traffic and weather, are another big part of our site. Our pieces resonate because they happened to someone you know or affect you because of where you live. And, being a news site, our goal is to offer information that is fast, furious and first in its reporting.
2. What brought you into the field of journalism?
A love for stories. We all have one, and I love helping folks spread the word about their passion, their vision or their cause. I also love sharing information and knowing I’ve helped a business grow by telling everyone about it. The best compliment for me is when someone says, “I never knew so-and-so did that.” Or “I got a new business lead because of your reporting.”
3. What are your favorite stories to share with your readers?
Feature stories – or as we like to say at Daily Voice, the “lighter” side of news. So, as I said earlier, people profiles. I also like service stories, i.e. where to go for a girl’s night out or where’s best to see July 4 fireworks or where you can dine by a fire. I particularly like family business stories – I’m always fascinated with a) how mothers/fathers/sons/daughters work together and still manage to go home together and b) how they keep their company going despite the influx of big box stores. I also love the heartwarming stories about volunteers who are driven by a passion. And I love writing about what’s filming in our area. Among my roles at Daily Voice is leading our DVlicious series where, once a month, we ask readers to tell us their favorite places for hamburgers, ice cream or brunch. We then write profiles on each, all the while encouraging readers to vote and post on social media. Involving the community in our stories and doing social sharing is the best part of my job, as I love the interaction with people.
4. Name one fun fact that the average reader would not know about you.
I do a lot of my work remotely. With so many counties to cover, it’s easier to sit at my computer, make calls and send emails than travel to each place. Though when I come to Dutchess, I’m free for any PR person to take me to lunch or drinks!
5. We heard you just published a new book. Congratulations! Can you tell us a bit more about it?
I actually wrote Dinner for Busy Moms six years ago, but haven’t changed my personal Facebook page to edit out the “I recently published a book.” I sometimes feel like we writers are the worst offenders when it comes to promoting ourselves. I need to update my page! (Thanks for the reminder!) But back to your question: Dinner for Busy Moms is all about shortcuts and strategies for getting dinner on the table when you’re NOT a cook. I strongly believe in gathering everyone together for the family meal, but I don’t believe it has to be homemade to be a “good mom.” Dinner can be take-out, as long as you make an effort to spend time together. It doesn’t have to be five or seven nights a week, either – just one more night than you’re doing now. And if you have eggs and toast, that’s fine! The message is more about sitting down, turning off your electronics and communicating.
6. Tell us – we promise not to hold it against you – what’s your biggest PR pet peeve?
I think it’s so hard to be a PR person today. We editors have so many personal requirements that it’s hard for you to know the best way to reach us and not get on our “bad” side! That said, I hate when someone calls me and asks if I got a press release. Don’t call. If I’m interested, you’ll hear from me – though I don’t mind a reminder email.
I also – since you asked! – prefer when PR people send a photo or a link to photos rather than telling me I can get photos upon request. That just slows down the process. I’d rather have all the information at my fingertips.
7. How many hashtags are too many? (All of us at Impact are looking to impose a legal limit.)
That’s a good question. It IS getting to be too much, right? I’d say three. After that, I start to lose you. Though don’t quote me – I’m quite often guilty of using more. I think we’re all trying hard to chase that social media pot of gold and hope something goes viral.
8. What do you love about living and working in the Hudson Valley?
The people and the food. I love the celebrations of Hudson Valley Restaurant Week and the amazing chefs that come out of the CIA and the emphasis on local sourcing. And thanks to our proximity to Manhattan and the array of interesting careers here, there are just so many fascinating people doing fascinating things. Again, it goes back to stories. I’m constantly amazed at the backgrounds of the folks I’ve met here.
9. Name one “hidden Hudson Valley gem” that all locals and visitors ought to check out.
I’m a huge fan of Chef Peter X. Kelly who is affiliated with the Teaching Kitchen at Hudson Valley Hospital Center. His restaurant, X2O, Xaviars on the Hudson in Yonkers – he has four total restaurants in Westchester and Rockland – not only has amazing views of the water, but the food, presentation and service are also stellar. The prix fixe three-course Sunday brunch where passed dishes are brought tableside, is elegant, leisurely dining at its best, and definitely an affair to remember.
10. If someone wants to follow the Daily Voice, how can they connect socially?