People to Pitch: Antonio Olivo, Chicago Tribune

Chicago Tribune reporter and 2011 Terkel Award winner Antonio Olivo discusses how relationships are a key part of pitching to reporters.

Pitch Antonio at 312-222-4636 or email him at

People to Pitch: Anna Tarkov & Jessica Pupovic

Anna Tarkov, Blogger
Chicago Tribune Chicagoland Extra

If you think the dwindling media landscape is narrowing your agency’s options to connect with audiences about your stories, think again. As traditional news outlets have reduced their newsrooms and placed an emphasis online news platforms, journalists are revamping their efforts to deliver important and dynamic narratives to the public.

So, how are they doing it? Think freelancing. Anna Tarkov and Jessica Pupovic are two of many Chicago-area freelancers who are intent on covering stories and issues that matter. Both agree establishing relationships with freelancers, even out of work journalists, can pay off in the long run.

“Don’t discount journalists who are out of work, because they will eventually be working and that relationship will last and could be effective in the future,” says Tarkov.

Tarkov covers the Wilmette and Deerfield village meetings for the Chicago Tribune Chicagoland Extra section. As a blogger, she muses about political figures, such as Sarah Palin and other issues. Connecting with bloggers who are receptive to your cause provides a niche audience as well as longer shelf life for your story, she says.  However, she says establishing a relationship with select bloggers is vital and shows discernment.

“When you blast [a press release] it says a) you don’t read my blog, b) don’t know what I write about or what my interests are,” she says. “ And c) don’t care and that A and B are true.”

Jessica Pupovic, Freelance Writer

Finding the best home for your story means a bit of homework is involved. For Pupovic, it always helps if there’s a timely hook or a project that is about to come to fruition. She says it can hinder her ability to take a story if the pitch is sent out before or on the same day.  Freelancers, who tend to give more in-depth coverage to an issue, should be pitched a week or so ahead so a plan of action can be developed, says Pupovic.

Pupovic, who writes for Mindful Metropolis, In These Times and The Crime Report, advices against discounting smaller publications because “they really are read by people in the industry who might have an larger audience” and “news does trickle up.”

“[Freelancers] get it out there and I promise you that I’ve had dozens of stories I’ve written that later have I’ve found in the Tribune or the Sun-Times,” says Pupovic. “The bigger publications are also out there monitoring… between the bloggers picking it up and the editors.”

Pupovic and Tarkov welcome pitches via email. You can check out Tarkov’s work at, follow her on twitter at or email her at Pupovic can be reached at and her on her google page.

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