Interview: Tamara Chuang

Tamara Chuang, Orange County Register technology reporter and mistress of consumer tech in her column "The Gadgetress," does not own a Blackberry.

Tamara Chuang, Orange County Register technology reporter and mistress of consumer tech in her column "The Gadgetress," does not own a Blackberry.

Still, she's always up on the latest trends in consumer products and services in Orange County. Chuang, who also maintains a blog at blogs.ocregister.com/gadgetress, worked for USA Today and The Dallas Morning News before coming to OC in 2000.

PRWeek: How is your beat broken down?

Tamara Chuang: My focus at the Register has always been the personal side of technology, and that is covering the trends of what people use: instant messaging, SMS on cell phones, viruses... a lot of these gadget companies are privately owned, small companies, and I felt like, "Let's give them an outlet [on my blog]." Plus, it helps me learn as a technology reporter because journalists don't really make that much and can't afford HDTV and stuff like that.

PRWeek: What do you consider the biggest tech story so far in 2006?

Chuang: Oddly, HDTVs are something I covered almost 10 years ago, maybe up to the late 1990s. But only now it seems to be coming to a price that anyone can afford. I'm reviewing a 50-inch plasma that's less than $2,000.

Other big things that are definitely newer would be more of the sharing sites like YouTube - MySpace is kind of old, as in "last-year" old - Internet TV, and voice over Internet, like Vonage. I wrote about that three or four years ago, but in the past week I have probably gotten a dozen e-mails from readers asking for this.

PRWeek: Which gadget has impressed you the most in 2006?

Chuang: Recently, I tested a service called V-Mail... you can check your e-mails and send e-mails as a voice message, and it gets sent to the person's e-mail address... and on top of that, you can create your own podcasts and download your own podcasts.

PRWeek: What can PR people do to help themselves to connect with you?

Chuang: Keep in mind what I cover: personal tech and Orange County. Those two things are very important. If you are pitching something new and cool, point it out in the beginning. And include a photo. Of course, don't bug me on deadline, which is traditionally afternoons.

PRWeek: Are there things that PR people do that you don't like, or that don't help you, that they can avoid?

Chuang: When I do conference calls, when I interview executives or just anyone from a company and it's a phone interview in a conference room and there are six people on the other line, I have no idea who's talking.

Also, if PR people could just put everything online. There are times when you need a high-res image at the last minute, and no PR person is around. I don't know why they don't do that.

Name: Tamara Chuang

Outlet: The Orange County Register

Title: Tech reporter

Preferred contact method: tchuang@ocregister.com

Web site: www.ocregister.com

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