Erica Copulsky has a nose for Wall Street scoops. As the mergers & acquisitions and Wall Street reporter at the country's screechiest tabloid, the New York Post, she's developed a reputation for unearthing juicy financial stories that have earned her the respect of her peers and of the Street's PR pros.
PRWeek: You have made a name for yourself by often beating your prestigious broadsheet competition - namely The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. Without revealing your sources, how have you managed to best the "big boys" on a steady basis?
Erica Copulsky: Although The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times are bigger newspapers, the New York Post also has an extensive Wall Street readership. In fact, I know of at least two CEOs at major firms who read the Post before they pick up the Journal or the Times. PR people tend to favor the Journal and the Times when it comes to giving exclusives, which means I have to work my sources a little harder and be more nimble myself in order to get ahead of the competition.
PRWeek: Do PR folks on Wall Street treat you differently now because of your track record?
Copulsky: Most of the time, PR executives are reacting to my calls rather than pitching me story ideas. However, I definitely think PR execs take me more seriously because of my track record for breaking stories. I've been told that while PR execs may not always like the news I uncover, they respect me for my ability to get the story right.
PRWeek: On more than a few occasions, Wall Street PR people have denied something to you that later proved true. Do you believe that in such instances they are lying knowingly or are they just out of the loop at their own firm?
Copulsky: It's probably a mixture of both. Few PR people on Wall Street have a seat at the proverbial table, so they don't know for certain what is going on. But I know of a few instances in which people have deliberately tried to mislead me. It's a dangerous line to cross because it's nearly impossible to repair relationships with reporters once you've lost credibility.
PRWeek: When it comes to major M&A deals, there are a handful of boutique PR firms that dominate this space. What's your impression of these agencies?
Copulsky: It wouldn't be appropriate for me to comment on individual PR firms, other than to say that some firms are better than others. However, generally speaking, I've found that the so-called M&A shops rarely provide me with any help on stories or influence my coverage.
PRWeek: Do you have any PR advice for Wall Street firms who have had their reputations battered in recent years?
Copulsky: The best advice I can give is simply to come clean at the onset. Spinning might work in the short term, but eventually the truth comes out - hopefully in the business pages of the New York Post.
Name: Erica Copulsky
Publication: New York Post
Title: M&A and Wall Street reporter
Preferred contact method: firstname.lastname@example.org