Interview: Connie Swaim

Connie Swaim started at Knightstown, IN-based Antique Week 21 years ago. She recently spoke to PRWeek about the perils of a collector covering the antiques business.

Connie Swaim started at Knightstown, IN-based Antique Week 21 years ago. She recently spoke to PRWeek about the perils of a collector covering the antiques business.

PRWeek: Did you have a background in antiques?

Connie Swaim: I do, yes. My parents have been antique dealers since I was 11 years old. My mom still owns an antique mall.

So my family is in the business, although when I went to journalism school, I did not have any aspirations to get into the business. I actually hated it when my parents dragged me around to auctions when I was a kid.

PRWeek: Is it interesting working at the publication?
Swaim: Oh yeah. I try not to tell my boss this, but this is probably the greatest job. I can't imagine working anywhere else.

I do some antique dealing on the side myself; I've probably had six auctions in the last 20 years, just because I accumulate too much stuff and I have to get rid of it and start something else.

PRWeek: Any interesting trends in antiques? The TV shows are popular.
Swaim: Yeah, and that does change things because a lot of people will see things on television, and that has brought some interest that the industry wouldn't have gotten otherwise. Also, things do cycle a lot. Many times people like to collect something they have a fond memory of.

PRWeek: What types of stories do you run?
Swaim: We try to do [reporting] across the board. What our readers want mainly is pricing information. If you're buying and selling, that's the most important thing you want to know.

We want to cover things that are not just at the high end, but also the mid-range and the low end. One good thing about the antiques industry is that it's so much more affordable than even buying new furniture.

PRWeek: Do you get pitches from PR pros saying you should write about this auction or this or that item?

Swaim: Yes. We get a lot of PR things, and only run some of it. The bigger auctions have their own PR people. There are now writers who have been in the antiques industry and do PR for a group of 10 to 15 clients.

[We also get] a lot of PR from companies that make showcases, [or publishers of] books on antiques and collectibles.

PRWeek: Is the PR outreach generally helpful or annoying?

Swaim: There are a few PR people [who] are annoying, but most of the time they're sending information that could be helpful.

We don't always use just the information that comes in, but will use it as news leads. We don't want to run the same story as our competitors because we all get the same release. So, we'll try to give it a different spin.

Read more about
Antique Week in an extended version at PRWeek.com.

Name:
Connie Swaim

Title: Managing editor

Outlet: Antique Week

Preferred contact method: connie@antiqueweek.com

Web site: www.antiqueweek.com

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