Jacqueline Gallo is no stranger to the celebrity-magazine world.
She spent time at Us Weekly before moving to her current post as senior editor at rival In Touch Weekly, where she oversees all things celebrity and gossip.
PRWeek: The celebrity market is becoming more crowded. What kind of challenge does this represent to your title?
Jacqueline Gallo:There's definitely a lot of competition, especially between the weeklies. The best way to ensure that you're at the front of the pack is to have the best reporters out most of the time and pulling in the best stuff. You want to make sure that your contact network - whether it's who you're calling and receiving calls from, who you're seeing out at parties, and what publicists you're working with - is better and larger than your competition's.
PRWeek: Are there opportunities for non-celebrity stories to make it into the magazine?
Gallo:We do have room for non-celebrity stories. The only other [celebrity] magazine that does non-celebrity stuff is People, so we kind of bridge the gap between Us Weekly, Star, and People with our real-life stories. Those stories tend to be inspiring and uplifting and show triumph over adversity. There also has to be some visual material associated with them. Even if you have a great story, if the person isn't willing to give you a picture of [his/herself], you can't run it. But on the whole, it must be something with an emotional aspect that will make the reader feel good.
PRWeek: What are some stories that are just a waste of time for people to pitch?
Gallo:In Touch is pretty structured in terms of the celebrities that we do cover. Our larger news stories will tend to be about the three Jens, Brad, Angelina, Ben Affleck, Britney and Kevin, and Nick and Jessica. And there's a lot of consistency in terms of the celebrities that we cover on a grand scale. With our smaller stories, particularly on our gossip pages, you will see opportunities for less-covered celebs to make an appearance. I'd say it is important for publicists to be aware of the celebrities that they're trying to pitch and to be familiar with who we cover because it's a pretty consistent formula.
PRWeek: How do you interact with publicists and PR people?
Gallo:Our dealings with personal publicists are limited to us calling them to look for a confirmation or denial or to get more information on a particular breaking news item about their client. A lot of the products and events have a specific publicist who represents that product or event that a celebrity used or attended. So those people will be the ones pitching you about their product or event and using the celebrity aspect as a hook to get you to print more information about it.
PRWeek: What advice do you have for PR people trying to pitch products?
Gallo:If they tell me that [a celebrity] uses this lip gloss, I can't do anything with that. It must have a hook. It needs to have a news angle to it, and it has to be a freestanding news story. So you would have to say, "[Celebrity A] got into a fight with another celebrity over the last tube of lip gloss at Sephora." Then it becomes a news item and not a product placement.
Name: Jacqueline Gallo
Publication: In Touch Weekly
Title: Senior editor
Preferred contact method: firstname.lastname@example.org