Dylan Stableford has held positions at all types of outlets, but he seems to have found his niche at mediabistro.com, covering the media in the "FishbowlNY" blog. He recently spoke to PRWeek about the future of blogs and his frustration with getting a recycled story.
PRWeek: Tell me how you got involved in journalism.
Dylan Stableford: I graduated from the University of Vermont in 1999 and I was always writing for local papers in Burlington. I wasn't a journalism major, though. I briefly moved out to Seattle and when I got back I was into music; there was this website called Sonicnet.com in New York, a really pioneering music journalism website. I got a job as the associate editor there and really quickly after I started they got bought by MTV.com, and I transitioned into doing work for MTV and MTV News. So I experienced the total dot-com boom and bust in a matter of eight months. It was pretty surreal being my first job out of college. I would be reading about my state of employment in the Post.
PRWeek: What is your impression of the current media climate after experiencing the dot-com bust in past jobs?
Stableford: I think in a lot of ways it is similar. A lot of people talk about how this time the online media is coming back, but we have a plan now. I think to a certain degree this is true and I think it's being driven by youth. There are a lot of people my age who are still trying to figure it out. It's kind of interesting.
PRWeek: What effect do you think the current blog craze will have on the future of journalism and the media?
Stableford: I'm a little biased because I write for a Web site that has six blogs, and I have been blogging for a couple months now. I know it sounds a little weird and cliché, but it's not really about the medium, it's about the message. There are plenty of great hard journalism blogs out there that are doing more reporting on a shoestring budget than traditional outlets.
PRWeek: How is Fishbowl similar to, and different from, Gawker and other gossip blogs?
Stableford: My media focus when I got here was news and breaking stories. The other blogs that are similar do that, too, but I think they have more gossip. I read those blogs, scouring them for news, but they're very entertaining, too - which is awesome.
When there is no breaking news to report, we try to do gossip. I guess the hierarchy for me is breaking news, original reporting, and insight, and when there is none of that, we try to filter in the fun part. We are certainly not above gossip.
PRWeek: What currently are your favorite gossip items to read about and cover?
Stableford: For a few weeks there, the Page Six story. I would wake up every morning and I thought I would be sick of it, but I wasn’t. I read it all and try to filter out what’s catching my eye.
PRWeek: What are some of your gripes with PR people who pitch you?
Stableford: One of my biggest gripes came up when I was at a panel recently for Westchester Women in Communications.
It was mostly PR people in the room. I was asked this exact question. I said that my biggest gripe is when someone pitches me a story and tries to sell me on it based on what other publications have written about it, like telling me The New York Times profiled them.
Despite being online only, we are competing with The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal for news. It's a bad thing if a story has been covered. It just means that I have to do a lot more legwork than something that is pitched to me fresh.
PRWeek: What advice would you give to a PR professional that is pitching FishbowlNY?
Stableford: It always helps to give as much of heads up as possible. It doesn't have to be an exclusive thing, but especially, I know this is true for a lot of bloggers who inundated with tips, so the earlier you can get your tip to someone you want coverage from it's all the better. You have to realize that even though it's a blog we're still competing with other mainstream outlets.
PRWeek: What would you like to see FishbowlNY blossom into?
Stableford: One of my goals is to get us to a level where we are a go-to publication where we would be part of any media conversation that is happening in New York. We would be a place when you want to know exactly what people are talking about and hopefully what people haven't talked about yet.
Name: Dylan Stableford
Outlet: FishbowlNY, Mediabistro.com
Title: Managing editor, media news
Preferred contact method: Dylan@mediabistro.com
Web site: www.mediabistro.com/fishbowlny