Stephen Joyce, a Bloomberg BNA staff correspondent, covers regulatory, statutory and enforcement developments involving energy and environment, health care, privacy and the business of law in four Midwestern states. As such, he’s no stranger to getting pitched by PR professionals.
But in a recent conversation with the Greentarget team, Joyce said just 25 percent of the pitches he receives are useful – and he provided some guidance on how he thinks media relations professionals can improve.
“Ask yourself: Do you have something to say?” Joyce said. “Who do you want to say it to? From there, figure out what news organization or product or whatever reaches those people, and then figure out who the journalists are in that space.”
In a wide-ranging conversation, Joyce spoke to the Greentarget team about how the media environment has evolved over the past 20 years, and his mantra as a reporter with Bloomberg: Factual, Fastest, Final, First and Future. What follows is a summary of his remarks, edited for length and clarity.
What excites you most about being a journalist?
It can be exciting, but it’s also dull. For example, one day I’m writing about an explosion at a Wisconsin grains mill, another day it’s just a new law, new rule, etc. Being a journalist isn’t always running around chasing a big story.
How has your work as a reporter evolved over the last 20 years?
One word: technology. I learned news writing on a typewriter in college, and now everything is on phones and computers. That’s changed everything – research, how I interview people, etc.
What have been some of the most exciting stories you’ve covered? What have been some of the most difficult?
The financial crisis in New York was the most exciting. I was based in New York from 2007-2016, so I started out there right when the housing bubble burst. My job was to cover the financial crisis.
The most difficult stories we write are related to federal and state rulemakings. Bloomberg BNA covers statutory and regulatory developments in mini briefs (usually a couple paragraphs), but the events themselves are 150-page documents. In short, it’s a lot to digest. “Yesterday wasn’t fast enough” is very accurate in my world, and we have to go through the entire thing fast. But fast sometimes isn’t your friend.
How do you keep up with the latest happenings in the areas you cover?
Shameless plug, the primary source of my information comes from Bloomberg products – I have a terminal and set up a ton of alerts and key terms. I also search for new dockets on Bloomberg Law.
On Twitter, I follow relevant sources, competitors and government agencies. I scan through these threads a few times a day.
I also have regular source calls where I ask relevant experts, “What should I be writing about?” These are terrific as I get original ideas.
Does Bloomberg BNA incorporate artificial intelligence in its day-to-day reporting? If not, do you anticipate it will happen in the future?
Yes – they’re very tech heavy. There are tools that I have that I don’t know how to use entirely yet. About a year ago they created a data-driven journalism unit – I work with them to pull metrics, and because the group has a line into graphics, I can use them as a one-stop shop for data and graphics.
The terminal is very tech-focused, so there’s a lot of data-driven journalism.
Since joining Greentarget ten years ago, Lisa has found great success as a highly-effective account manager and media relations expert.
During college basketball season, she can be found cheering on her Indiana University Hoosiers.