LCI Blog: MediaMonday – Omar Akhtar, senior editor at The Hub, PRWeek’s sister brand

OMARWhat’s your top story for today?

We have a story up about Kenneth Cole’s very misguided and tone-deaf tweet which referenced Syria, and tried to make light of the situation by talking about his footwear line. http://www.thehubcomms.com/blog/kenneth-cole-is-stupid-on-twitter.

It’s such a classic example of how to use social media badly. He followed it up with an Instagram video claiming he was just “raising awareness,” which is pretty unbelievable. We try to focus on the good, innovative ways people are using technology to communicate. Occasionally, we get a great example of what not to do, and this is one of them.

Tell us about your dream assignment.

It would probably be to write the biography of a famous musician. I’m a huge fan of personal stories and it would be a great challenge to recreate someone’s life through a series of them.

Describe the wackiest story you’ve written.

I once discovered a Mormon church in Brooklyn, NY that was almost exclusively for Chinese immigrants. I didn’t even know there were Chinese Mormons, so it was a real eye-opener for me. The story was about how Mormon missionaries were using the church to reach out to immigrant communities to help them integrate. Not too wacky, but definitely fascinating.

What is your PR pet peeve?

Don’t send me a pitch that is clearly impersonal and copy/pasted from the millions you sent out to other journalists. Starting your email with a simple “Hi there” is a dead giveaway. If you can’t even take the time to type my name, it’s not worth my time to read the pitch. That approach is almost guaranteed to have it ignored. I always appreciate it if the pitch acknowledges what I write about and has an intelligent and different hook, not just a “this is so wild and crazy! You should totally write about it!”

Top trend in the industry you’re currently covering or are interested in.

I’m really fascinated by viral content, and there are plenty of companies that have cracked the code on how to produce it well and frequently. I’m definitely on the lookout for campaigns that go viral in a smart and entertaining way without being cheap, as well as investigating the science behind how they get shared so frequently.

Tell us a little about yourself.

Journalism is a second career for me; I was previously a singer/songwriter in my native Pakistan with a rock band called the Aunty Disco Project. As I approached the age of 30, I realized I couldn’t convincingly wear leather pants anymore and decided to take up a slightly more respectable profession. (Although the jury’s still out on the respectability bit.)

Questions or comments? Please leave comments below or send an email to [email protected] or [email protected]

 

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4 Comments

  1. David Landis Reply

    Omar – I think we need photos of the leather pants, please! Love the name of your band, too. As an unabashed lover of disco, I can’t wait to hear your band. Thanks also for being on the cutting edge of all things digital and covering this space so comprehensively that we all can learn a bit more. Cheers, David

  2. Sean Dowdall Reply

    Omar,

    Great post and a perfect example with the Cole debacle. And I’m so with you on the “Hi” salutations that really are SPAM – I never bite into it!

    Sean

  3. Omar Akhtar Reply

    Thanks for featuring me guys! And David, those pictures of the leather pants are locked away in a very safe place, only to be revealed if The Hub starts losing its page views, and we need a good scandal!

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