JOURNALIST Q&A: Christine Woolsey

Chris Woolsey has spent more than 15 years as a reporter in Chicago, working on Crain's Business Insurance magazine for eight years after graduating from the University of Illinois with a degree in journalism. She's also worked for Thomson Financial Media and at an online human resources news site before rejoining Crain's in July 2000 to relaunch its Chicago Business website. Running a news site means facing constant deadlines as she tries to give readers the latest news on the Chicago business scene.

Chris Woolsey has spent more than 15 years as a reporter in Chicago, working on Crain's Business Insurance magazine for eight years after graduating from the University of Illinois with a degree in journalism. She's also worked for Thomson Financial Media and at an online human resources news site before rejoining Crain's in July 2000 to relaunch its Chicago Business website. Running a news site means facing constant deadlines as she tries to give readers the latest news on the Chicago business scene.

PRWeek: Who is the audience for your site? Christine Woolsey: Anybody doing business in Chicago. Our audience tends to be a bit younger than that of Crain's print edition. The site extends Crain's reach to a new audience. We have 100,000 registered users, 70% of which aren't print subscribers. PRWeek: Who do you see as the site's competition? Woolsey: I would say it's the daily newspapers. We're the only breaking business news site in Chicago. We try to report the news you're going to see in the business sections of tomorrow's paper. Our coverage is a little shorter; it's not as deep. We push news to people's desktops and that's a captive audience. PRWeek: What type of story is the site most interested in? Woolsey: First and foremost, anything that's breaking business news that's not driven by press releases. The most valuable thing for me and my reporters is to get a tip form someone about something that's about to happen and then break it. We use Business Wire and PR Newswire, so any story that we're interested in from those sources, we will do without a PR person calling to tell us about it. PRWeek: What's the best way for PR people to contact staffers? Woolsey: E-mail seems to be the best way, but I'm not the main contact. I don't want PR people to call me unless they've got something good. I'm on deadline all day, every day. To the extent we have a deadline, it's at 3pm every day when we send out our daily news report via e-mail. PRWeek: How do you view the role of PR people in your daily news gathering? Woolsey: They can be helpful. They're helpful when they're proactive. They're helpful when they consider giving us something in advance so that we can at least tie the dailies. We can embargo it and we would honor any embargo. They're helpful when they know our audience, knowing that we don't write blatantly self-promotional stuff. I really hate when they think that they are the only channel through which to contact company officials. I understand that they want to control the news, but they need to know that we don't want them to control the news. It's not helpful to do that. The other thing they have to be cognizant of is our deadlines. We don't have days. We don't even have hours. They have to take into account our tight deadlines. It's much more of a broadcast model than a print model. ------- Name: Christine Woolsey Publication: Crain's Chicago Business Title: Online editor Preferred contact method: cwoolsey@crain.com; send story pitches to: kquigley@crain.com Website: chicagobusiness.com

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