Interview: Cathy Landry

Aside from a brief stint at a newspaper in western Massachusetts following graduation from Syracuse University, Cathy Landry has spent more than 15 years covering the energy industry for McGraw-Hill publications.

Aside from a brief stint at a newspaper in western Massachusetts following graduation from Syracuse University, Cathy Landry has spent more than 15 years covering the energy industry for McGraw-Hill publications.

The past 10 have been at Platts News Service, a top provider of reporting on the complex and volatile energy industry.

PRWeek: What kinds of stories do you cover?

Cathy Landry: My job as the Washington oil correspondent is really to cover the politics of oil, whether that be at Congress, the White House, the State Department, or various visiting dignitaries like oil ministers coming to the US to visit. We're a two-person bureau, and the bureau chief does a lot on the environment and climate change. I cover more energy and international [news].

PRWeek: Energy is a big topic in the news as gas prices have risen.

Landry: Yes, energy has become a very hot topic in recent years. People weren't quite so hyped up about it in the late '90s when prices were $10 a barrel because, frankly, people don't really seem to care about energy until it affects their pocketbook.

I remember when people were complaining, "Oh my goodness gracious, oil prices are at $30 a barrel." Well, they hit $80 not so long ago. Every quarter we get the barrage of comments from Congress and the President about how much money [oil companies are] making.

PRWeek: Are there any misperceptions about how energy markets work?

Landry: I think there are some. Certainly on gasoline. I think people around the world, though more in America, tend to believe it's our God-given right to have cheap energy supply. They don't care that crude oil prices have gone up, or that there was a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico, or that a refinery downed - it just doesn't seem to register.

PRWeek: How open are companies or government officials about providing you with information?

Landry: I think with the companies specifically, we have decent relationships. There are a couple of companies - which will not be named by me - that are very reticent in talking to the press. They can be difficult.
Same with government. It's like any other beat. [There are] sensitive issues people are not necessarily looking to talk about, but you've just got to keep plugging away. Sometimes you don't get it from the primary source; you get it from the secondary source, and then you go to the primary source and get confirmation.

PRWeek: Do you get a lot of pitches from PR or public affairs people?

Landry: I think we do, and I welcome getting pitches from people because sometimes there are things that I'm going to be interested in. I'm on a lot of e-mail lists for a lot of different groups and Congresspeople. I welcome hearing from people to know what events are [taking place].

Outlet: Platts News Service

Title: Washington oil correspondent

Preferred contact method: Cathy_Landry@platts.com

Web site: www.platts.com

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