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 Laurie Szostak, editor-in-chief of Organic Hudson Valley. From the first time we spotted this niche magazine about town, we knew it was something special. Organic Hudson Valley (OHV) is as local as it gets, serving as a voice for Hudson Valley businesses and an advocate for all things fair trade, sustainable and feel good. Yes, you could say we’re fans!
Laurie, thanks for being our guest this month. Can you tell us a bit more about the areas Organic Hudson Valley covers and what makes it different than other publications in the community?
OHV is 100% local from the printing to the freelance staff. OHV covers the entire Hudson Valley from Westchester, Dutchess, Putnam, Ulster, Orange and Columbia Counties. I strive to be different than other magazines, and I have accomplished that with being true to who I am and what I am about. OHV is a high-quality, niche magazine that focuses on the same local minded people who believe in fair trade, sustainability and are honest, hardworking, authentic people that are trying to make a difference in this world and our area. I am very selective on who I write about and who advertises.
How long has Organic Hudson Valley been around?
OHV has been around for 2.5 years. Our first issue was a November 2013 issue and was printed monthly. Then in June 2014, I became more sustainable and started producing a bi-monthly magazine with a June/July 2014 issue. We print five issues a year starting with an April/May, June/July, August/September, October/November and then a December issue. We don’t print a winter issue because it tends to be a slow time for many business owners and I chose to become more sustainable, as well.
What’s next for you and for the magazine?
OHV is growing slowly and organically, which is what I want. We have now redesigned our website to have the same feel of positive energy, love and passion as the magazine does. We also now offer Media, Marketing and Matchmaking. OHV offers a variety of other services associated with the magazine, from custom design and publishing, custom marketing with the magazine, as well as event planning. We can help plan your farm to field dinners, festivals, or other events associated with the local farmers and wineries. We have a large contact list and want to help connect the right people together to create a wonderful experience for each. OHV has a number of events planned this year starting with the partnership of Crown Maple on June 11 for our first annual Crown Maple/Organic Hudson Valley Food & Arts Festival. On July 16, OHV is one of the sponsors of the Walbridge Farm Fest, and on October 1, OHV is one of the sponsors of Melissa Surprise’s Mid Hudson Market Place Event being held at Nostrano Vineyards. We have other clients that are interested in planning some events with myself and OHV soon, as well.
Name one fun fact that the average reader would not know about you.
I never went to college and learned everything that I know from experience!
What are your favorite stories to share with readers?
That is hard to answer, because there are so many stories to share. We have so many farmers, artists and small businesses that no one has heard of. I want to keep finding them and share with our readers who and where they are. There is much talent and goodness in our area, and I want to be the one to tell their story. Who better to tell it than Organic Hudson Valley?
Tell us – we promise not to hold it against you – what’s your PR pet peeve?
Not getting the facts correct and honesty.
How many hash tags are too many? (All of us at Impact are looking to impose a legal limit.)
This is a good, funny question; thanks for making me laugh. I personally only use hashtags when I use Instagram. I am curious as well to what is too many.
Do you have a favorite story you’ve worked on?
All the stories are great and fun to work on, but one that touched my heart deeply was “Angels of Light” in our December 2015 issue. Lori Decker and her family have been collecting Christmas gifts over the past fifteen years for families dealing with life-threatening illnesses. Lori is a true “Do-Gooder” and knowing that there is this kindness and generosity in a world of negativity is amazing and inspirational!
What do you love about living and working in the Hudson Valley?
It’s beautiful and serene! I just love the picturesque farm land and mountains. There are so many beautiful towns and cities in our area that have their own personalities. I love being able to look out my window while working and see the beauty and serenity that our Hudson Valley offers.
Name one “hidden Hudson Valley gem” that all locals and visitors ought to check out.
I would have to say the website hikethehudsonvalley.com. I have a “Wandering Department” and am always looking for new and exciting places to visit in our area. My daughter, Ashley, goes hiking every weekend with my grandson, Ayden, who is 3. She is always posting photos of these beautiful spots that they hike. I asked her about them and she told me that she goes to Hike the Hudson Valley website. This truly is a hidden Hudson Valley gem.
If someone wants to follow Organic Hudson Valley, how can they connect socially?
Visit our website at organichudsonvalley.com or organichv.com. Our website is packed with information from our issues to our advertisers. You can also follow us on Facebook (which all our likes are organic), Instagram or Twitter.