Welcome David and Nikki!
This week we had two new team members join our NY office, David Worthington and Nikki Black. We thought it would be important to learn a little more about them and introduce them to the Fusion community via a quick interview. After I put the call out for questions to the rest of the team, you can see I got a healthy mix of serious and not-so-serious, but equally important questions.
FPR: You both have a background in journalism. Can you tell us a little bit about that? How has the transition from journalism to the dark side [PR] been going?
David: A journalist’s skills relate well to PR. There are processes to follow at an agency that take a little getting used to, but it’s not really different from starting any other new job. My journalism career began online, and then I worked in print media for years. I didn’t know much about newspaper publishing at the beginning, but learned the business and became and editor.
Nikki: I’m a recent graduate of the Ithaca College Park School of Communications, where I was a journalism major. I’ve done work in print, photo, audio and video. During my senior year, a professor asked us why we were in the journalism program, and my answer was I just really like talking to people, something that definitely won’t change in my transition to “the dark side.” Also, I’ve always had a passion for writing and editing, two areas that I’m sure will serve me just as well in this field as they did in journalism.
FPR: What caused you to seek out a career in public relations?
David: I’d already gone to the “dark” side, working in sales and marketing at a software vendor. PR allows me to write, think creatively, and contribute to the success of clients. PR today is more than just media relations; it’s really a business partnership. Our goal is to contribute to the success of the client. I’m able to work with many interesting companies – not just one. They’re some really great people out there in the industry, and it’s a pleasure to work with them.
Nikki: I studied abroad in London my junior year of college and during that time I started interning at a newspaper and, because of a few happy coincidences, ended up interning at Blurb Music PR. I absolutely adored working with the company, and it really got me interested in the field, which was not something I had considered entering before.
FPR: David, what do journalists really think of PR? Don’t be shy, we won’t take it personally.
David: Talk about a loaded question. 🙂 PR people who do their job well can be very helpful to a journalist. The good ones actively build a strong personal relationship and think outside of the parameters of ‘us vs. them.’ Everyone has their interests, and that’s understood. You don’t know what editorial opportunities there may be unless a vendor has the opportunity to communicate with a trusted journalist. A bad PR person is slow, unresponsive, and doesn’t deliver anything except for the usual canned statement or editorial theme. That doesn’t serve the client well.
FPR: Do you think previous experience in journalism will help with your pitching skills now that you are on the other side of things?
David: Certainly. I know how a journalist thinks and know many of them personally.
FPR: Are you into technology? High-tech PR requires a special type of geek speak, do you think you can handle it?
David: Some of my background is in computer science, I was an editor at a software development focused newspaper, and sold data middleware for a few years. I definitely can handle it.
Nikki: I am fluent in a few different types of “geek speak”- I co-hosted the video game review show Game Over on Ithaca’s television network and I have lost probably weeks of my life to various anime and manga. As for technology geek speak, I spent some time interning at the IT department of GlaxoSmithKline where I learned some of the basics, and I look forward to becoming fluent in that as well!
FPR: Nikki, rumor has it you are also a stand-up comedian, where can we hear some?
Nikki: If you want to see some of my stand-up, all you have to do is search “Nikki Black Stand-Up” on YouTube! Just make sure it’s not a music video for the rapper of the same name. Actually, you should probably check her out too… she’s pretty good.
FPR: Do you think you will be able to inject some of that humor and creativity into future pitches?
Nikki: I absolutely expect to make use of my comedy chops in pitches. Stand-up is not just about being funny, either- you really have to learn how to connect with an audience and get your ideas across. I think those skills are definitely going to be useful.
FPR: If you had the right client, what is your dream press hit?
David: The top story on All Things Digital. That’s major geek cred.
FPR: Nikki, you recently won the office Draw Something reboot by guessing the word “waterbed” during your first play, how did that feel?
Nikki: It felt amazing- the highlight of my career thus far.
FPR: You might not know this, but on Friday’s we like to have Fusion dance parties. Do you have any suggestions for next week’s theme?
David: David can’t dance
Nikki: Oh, wow. I had heard there were dance parties but I did not know they had themes– I’m so excited. I’m always suggesting J-Pop as a theme for parties, and nobody ever goes for it, but it will probably always by my suggestion.
FPR: What is your favorite movie of all time? How about TV? Will it bother you if we spend most of our Friday’s quoting Community and 30 Rock?
David: There are so many it’s difficult to pick. My favorite movie probably changes from time to time. I’m currently watching BBC’s “Luther” and AMC’s “Breaking Bad” on TV. My DVR is my best friend.
Nikki: My Neighbor Totoro always makes me insanely happy. As for television, it’s a tie between How I Met Your Mother and the British comedy panel show QI. I’m not a fan of Community (sorry!), but 30 Rock is amazing.
FPR: This might not seem important right now, but eventually it will. What are your feelings about karaoke?
David: It terrifies me.
Nikki: Karaoke is my favorite sport!
FPR: Having an office dog is pretty cool, right?
David: Charlie sleeps a lot.
Nikki: It’s absolutely the coolest.
There you have it, all the important things you needed to know, but didn’t want to ask the newest members of Fusion NY! Welcome to the team David and Nikki!