The century-old Oil %26 Gas Journal is 'the bible' for the industry it covers, largely because it seeks to get things right, not just get them first - a point PR pros must recall when pitching.
How many trade magazines are paid circulation rather than controlled?
How many are weekly instead of monthly? And how many have been around for 100 years? You could count the books that meet all those qualifications on one hand, with Oil & Gas Journal being one of those rare publications.
First published May 24, 1902 as The Oil Investors' Journal, the magazine reaches 28,000 readers weekly in the oil and gas industries, with a combination of news and technical articles.
"They're pretty much the bible, says Teresa Wong, manager of public affairs and corporate communications with Anadarko Petroleum, an independent oil and gas exploration and production company.
Stephanie Price, corporate communications and media relations manager with Houston-based offshore drilling contractor GlobalSanteFe, agrees.
"They're one of the most definitive sources of information in the industry."
Journal editor Bob Tippee has been at the magazine 25 years, and oversees a full-time staff of 16, with an average job tenure of between eight and 10 years - high for a trade magazine.
"The Journal has a reputation in the industry. My job is to both preserve that reputation and build on it, says the plainspoken Tippee, based in Houston. The publication also has a Tulsa, OK office, and an editor in Washington, DC.
He's equally succinct about his editorial mission. "We try to help oil and gas industry pros in operations parts of the industry do their jobs. Engineers and scientists are our core readership."
The Journal's weekly General Interest section deals with non-technical news of the industry, such as economic and market trends, government news, company news, and personnel announcements. It's followed in the book by the more technical sections aimed at each segment of the industry - Exploration & Development, Drilling & Production, Processing and Transportation.
Those sections routinely solicit technical articles on new developments or processes in the business. "We try to organize it to be as quick and handy as it can be, says Tippee.
Tippee's not so much interested in getting scoops in his publication as he is in giving the level of detail and explanation his readers want.
"Let AP get it first, and we'll get it right, he says.
Jennifer Bell, the publicity chairman for the Society of Petroleum Engineers, Gulf Coast Section, echoes Tippee when she says, "They're not a gossip column. You go to Oil & Gas Journal to get information you need to help you do your job. The Journal is respected in the industry. Everyone reads it, and people want to be cited or published in it."
Tippee does have another outlet for breaking news, his website, ogjonline.com. His staff puts five to eight news stories a day on the site. "It's a way for us to be more newsy, Tippee says. "That attracts people to the magazine."
The magazine runs a special report every week. Lead time for those is about a month. Add to that the weekly deadlines and a daily need for website news stories, and Tippee is always open to story pitches. "I'll look at any form of article idea from anybody, he offers.
What he most wants, though, are pitches from those who have taken time to get to know the publication. "Don't just look at the editorial calendar and pitch, he warns. "Read the magazine."
He dislikes getting releases from companies that feel just because they've sold something, be it software or some tech gadget, to an oil or gas company, that he'd want to write about them. And his biggest pet peeve is the follow-up calls he gets from PR people wanting to know if he's seen their releases.
"I hate 'em, he says simply. "I think that's a waste of money, and it's annoying."
Any pitches for news stories should simply be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Both Tippee and executive editor Bob Williams are prime contact points for other matters, as are the editors of the magazine's sections.
Put story pitches in writing via e-mail or fax rather than calling. "Put something down on paper that we can pass around, Tippee says. "We like to have something to look at."
Various section editors will often solicit technical guest articles, but are also open to pitches. "We make our technical article selections on the basis of the expertise of the technical editors in those sections," Tippee says.
GlobalSantaFe's Price has worked with the drilling editor, and found the staff very helpful. "They're really keen on solid technical articles," she confirms.
Tippee is now working on the 100th anniversary issue which will be published August 31, but don't send him pitches for that. The issue will be a collection of articles form the past 100 years on key technical developments in the industry. Having been at the magazine for a quarter of its existence is "humbling, Tippee says. "The institution is a lot bigger than I am."
Oil & Gas Journal
Address: 1700 West Loop South, Suite 1000, Houston, TX 77027
Tel: (713) 621-9720
E-mail for news: email@example.com
Editor: Bob Tippee
Executive editor: Bob Williams