Pitching Zach Behrens, editor-in-chief at KCET.org's UpDaily
The ultra-affable Zach Behrens gave me some pitching insight for UpDaily (he's editor-in-chief) on KCET.org. UpDaily is the section of the web site featuring blogs, which currently number three: SoCal Focus, The Public Kitchen and Climate Oversight.
"We're looking to BE public media, and that means not just following everyone's news story of the day," he says. "We're exploring rich stories that are not being talked about, or we're adding the public media twist to things that are hot topics. We're not going to be the crime blotter, that's not our role."
Zach tells me that SoCal Focus is the main blog, meant over time to become a daily destination for news, arts and culture, policy and the people and places of Southern California. Unlike LA Observed, LAIst and Curbed, UpDaily is not just about Los Angeles but also covers the 10 counties in KCET's broadcast reach (up to San Luis Obispo and down to Imperial counties).
For example, he points to the piece did on an annual tradition in Solvang: a fire "where residents, and even some travelers from afar, haul their Christmas trees into a large pile. Large, as in some 500 trees." The story portrays what goes on in the community, where the tradition came from and how it developed as well as the effect it had on the environment.
He's also doing a lot of history, partnering with LA as Subject, a member archive based at USC. (Examples: Rose Parade history, Jerry Brown Then and Now.)
He usually ties his posts to a topic that's being talked about, but he's also focusing on news stories that are NOT being talked about. UpDaily was among the first to report on the controversy surrounding La Plaza, where "Human remains found at a downtown L.A. museum construction site have prompted a state commission to request the project be stopped while an investigation determines if they are of American Indian origin or not."
Another signature series is one that began recently that's taking people through Compton one day at a time, "looking at why there is so much negative coverage of the city when there's so much that's positive there."
As for The Public Kitchen, it's a blog about experiencing food, and every post has a recipe and a story. Zach calls it "Your living, breathing Southern California cookbook," A recent post spotlighted farmers who sell their produce at farmers markets and what they cook for themselves and their families at home.
When asked "who is your audience?" he responded, "Definitely people who are interested Southern California as a place, a broad range of people and a diverse group. Meaning not just diversity of geography but also but diversity of culture."
Pitch him BY CATEGORY at these @kcet.org email addresses:
From LA Observed:
Sean Smith is leaving as Los Angeles bureau chief of Entertainment Weekly to serve overseas in the Peace Corps - for two years.
Michael Schneider, TV editor for Variety, is leaving to be Los Angeles bureau chief for TV Guide.
From the Beverly Hills Courier:
The Beverly Hills Courier is pleased to announce reporter Marla Schevker has joined its staff. Schevker joins The Courier after her tenure at the Beverly Hills Weekly, where she covered issues such as the Westside Subway Extension and Measure 2P.
Thanks to the intrepid Libby Huebner for passing this change along for email addresses at Frontiers magazine: it's now @frontiersweb.com (formerly frontierspublishing.com).