JOURNALIST Q&A: Jennifer Waters

In her varied career, Jennifer Waters has been a radio sidekick to Jesse "The Body" Ventura and a reporter for a restaurant industry magazine.

In her varied career, Jennifer Waters has been a radio sidekick to Jesse "The Body" Ventura and a reporter for a restaurant industry magazine.

Now, as Marketwatch's Chicago bureau chief, she covers the same industry and has a host of other duties.

PRWeek: How did you settle on business writing as a career?

Jennifer Waters: I fell into it while working in Minneapolis but realized fairly quickly that business reporting was much more interesting to me than writing about cops and robbers or politics. I have taken a variety of finance and business classes to give me a stronger grasp on certain industries and areas, and now am getting an MBA.

PRWeek: What are your primary beats, and what are your key functions as bureau chief?

Waters: We have had a major shift in beats and coverage recently. I now cover retailing and restaurants.

PRWeek: Who is your audience, and what issues or topics matter most to them?

Waters: Our audience includes a large portion of that all-important C-class - CEOs, CFOs, CIOs - and also just your regular working schmoes.

PRWeek: Has the down economy changed the types of news you're doing or what readers expect?

Waters: I don't know that to be true, per se. Certainly people are as interested in their investments whether there is a recession or not. We're fortunate that we have come out of this internet bubble and recession nearly unscathed - though it has been financially challenging.

PRWeek: What are the major business trends you expect to be following this year?

Waters: The economy, while it pulls its way back onto a path of strong productivity and higher employment, and the value of the dollar. I'm keeping close tabs on inflation, deflation, and re-inflation. Also, consolidation is expected to be huge this year.

PRWeek: Are you pitched often, and what is the best way for PR people to pitch you story ideas?

Waters: I generally am open-minded and accepting of story ideas. My problem is that I tend to like a lot of the story ideas I get, but just don't have the time to pursue them.

PRWeek: What is your biggest gripe about PR people?

Waters: My biggest pet peeve has been the same since my first job: It's PR people who aren't familiar with the site, publication, station, etc., that I work for. There are few things more aggravating than someone pitching a story that clearly would not fit our site or my beat or our audience.

PRWeek: What's the biggest change you've seen in your time at

Waters: I've been here four years and have experienced the seismic shift toward the internet for everything from charting stocks to political fundraising to shopping. From a reporting standpoint, the biggest changes have been with the securities industry and the requirements - both in force and coming - that companies face as regulators battle to close loopholes and to force firms to be more forthcoming.

Name: Jennifer Waters


Title: Chicago bureau chief

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