Members of the media and PR pros can be friends. Yes, really.
To give our blog readers a better insight into some of our favorite journalists, we’re introducing a “Media Monthly,” a Q&A-style blog post where we ask some questions and media experts weigh in.
To kick off the series, we welcome Jessica Friedlander, digital editor at Hudson Valley magazine. The award-winning monthly lifestyle publication is considered the authority on all things Hudson Valley from dining to leisure and people to places. A division of Today Media, its sister publications include Westchester magazine, Delaware Today, and Main Line Today. It is also known for its signature events, including the popular Best of Hudson Valley® and Burger and Beer Bash.
Jessica, can you tell us more about Hudson Valley magazine?
Launched in 1972, the magazine currently is the only lifestyle publication that is dedicated to all 10 counties of the Hudson Valley region (and a little bit beyond). We cover everything from restaurants and bars to arts and events to health and travel. Each month, we run a fun contest called “Where in the Valley,” in which we provide a photo and the backstory of a local landmark that readers try to identify for a prize. We receive some pretty interesting comments — and memories — from those!
How long have you worked at the magazine?
I just celebrated my eighth (!) anniversary on March 31, 2016.
What’s your beat?
The editors don’t have beats, per se; instead, we write and assign a variety of lifestyle topics. I’ve written about restaurants, fashion trends, music festivals, breweries, and even interviewed the founder of Hudson Valley Weather (Alex Marra — awesome guy!) about the polar vortex.
Name one fun fact that the average reader would not know about you.
I’m a certified chocoholic. I have a disgusting obsession with S’mores right now. I’ve eaten five in the time it’s taken me to answer these few questions.
What are your favorite stories to share with Hudson Valley magazine readers?
This might sound cliché, but I love it when we shine a spotlight on local people doing great things for their communities. Just average Joes and Janes, following their hearts and spending time helping others. Every month we profile a “Hudson Valley Hero” — either a person or group of people (sometimes animals!) — that have had a positive impact on the area around them. We’ve profiled teachers who established a shame-free donation closet for poverty-stricken students; a nurse who dedicates her time to caring for veterans; and a Newburgh boy who we recognized for his engineering work (he’s only 15!).
You were recently a guest speaker at a Marist PR class our founder teaches and the students loved your advice. For those who were not in the room, what’s your number one PR pet peeve?
When story pitches are long-winded and sound more opinionated than factual! Presenting an angle is great, but we know our audience best. Let us be the creative ones — editors hate being told what to write. That said, editorial discretion is important to us; there are many reasons why a great story simply can’t fit into an upcoming issue (we’ve written about that topic recently and don’t want to be repetitive; it’s not a good fit for our audience; we have to meet a tight deadline; etc.), so we appreciate it when PR reps understand that not every story can make it into the magazine.
How many hashtags are too many? (All of us at Impact are looking to impose a legal limit.)
Oh boy, you’re asking the wrong person! I’ve used hashtags AND emoticons. I’d say go wild on Instagram, keep it to one or two on Twitter (character limit, obv.), and use as sparingly as possible on Facebook.
Do you have a favorite story you’ve worked on?
I’ve got eight years of amazing stories I could tell you about, but my favorites by far were our fashion spreads. We’d make it a point to feature clothes from Valley boutiques — no chains! — at local landmarks. The shoots were a lot of work — we’d handle all the researching, scouting, writing, editing, styling, creative direction, and layout in-house — but boy, were they worth it. We’ve done vintage aviator fashion at the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome, Bohemian style at Vassar’s “Jetson Lounge,” a funky 1970s romp around the streets of Poughkeepsie, and we had a blast at the Empire State Railway Museum in Phoenicia. My sort of coup de grâce before passing on the fashion torch: a glamorous 1920s, Jazz Age-inspired shoot at the Bardavon.
What do you love about living and working in the Hudson Valley?
Last month, I took my pal to a concert at UPAC in Kingston; Los Lobos performed alongside Ballet Folkorico Mexicano, a traditional Mexican dance troupe. It was so spirited, so alive, that the entire crowd jumped out of their seats, clapping and dancing and singing. The fact that we can experience other cultures right in our own backyard is truly inspiring. This place is so vibrant, so full of different people. There’s so much diversity, and yet everyone you meet seems like a close friend or neighbor. I think everyone should make it a point to visit local art galleries, hole-in-the-wall music venues, independent movie theaters, record stores, historic sites, little corner shops. They’re all really charming and unique, and the people are so genuine.
Name one “hidden Hudson Valley gem” that all locals and visitors ought to check out.
Just one? Ah! I’m going to cheat and send you to our “20 Hidden Gems” story. There are so many great spots off the beaten path, it’s impossible to pick one!
If someone wants to follow Hudson Valley magazine, how can they connect socially?
How do I connect with thee? Let me count the ways! (Or something like that.) We’re on every major social media site (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube — search for “Hudson Valley Magazine” or @HudsonValleyMag); we’ve got a newsletter called Hudson Valley Today ; and, of course, we’re always scouting for reader feedback via our website. Leave a comment on a story or write to us directly — we love comments!