Interviewing ReadWrite’s Editor: Owen Thomas

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Hey Munchkins, today I have a special treat for you.

You know how you’re always chasing top tier magazines, begging them for some coverage or accepting a guest column…

So today I’m bringing you an exclusive peek to the backstage of the world of outreach: an interview with no other than ReadWrite’s Editor!

Owen Thomas was born at 1972 and has quite the resume; from managing NBC’s Bay Area website to being an executive editor for VentureBeat, he’s done it all.

Today, Owen is ReadWrite’s Editor-In-Chief. With 3 million Twitter followers, ReadWrite is definitely one of the top 5 tech blogs (although Owen is modest enough to say it’s not the best one) and one of my personal favorite websites to follow daily.

 

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So what’s it like being the editor of such an important outlet, to which almost every PR agency or startup company tries to reach?

Here’s what Owen has to say.

 
How much time has passed since your first day in ReadWrite?

“I started in April 2013, just in time for ReadWrite to turn 10 years old. Time has flown! We’re already looking forward to my first year on the job and ReadWrite’s 11th anniversary in two months.”

 

What was your first generation, before editing the world’s largest tech outlet?
“While ReadWrite has a large and influential audience, we’re far from the world’s largest tech publication, and I’m quite happy about that. We’re able to focus on the passions of our audience and deliver high-quality takes on the news and analysis that matters.

Before joining ReadWrite, I was the West Coast Editor for Business Insider. Prior to that, I’ve held editorial management roles for about a decade. I was a reporter for Business 2.0 magazine before becoming chief of reporters and then online editor there.”
 
 
Would you call yourself the “Average” editor of a big magazine? Most of them are so swamped with content that they don’t have time to socialize with the contributors.

“While I always enjoy my conversations with contributors, my focus is on coaching and developing ReadWrite’s staff writers and editors. That’s where I can deliver the most benefit to our readers.”
 
 
How many hours a day does it take to act as ReadWrite’s Editor?

“It’s a very full-time job.”

 
 
Is your job different than TechCrunch or Mashable’s Editor? Do Head Editors socialize with each other or are they strictly competitors?

“Every publication is different, but there are a lot of things in common. When I talk to other editors—and yes, for the most part, we’re all friendly and talk to each other—I find that our challenges are often similar. Mostly they revolve around recruiting and developing our writers, so they can do their best work for readers.”

 

 

How many guest contributions emails you get per day?

“We get over 300 guest-post submissions a month. That’s why our guidelines (bit.ly/rwwguidelines) note that we can’t offer detailed feedback on submissions. Guest posts are not our focus, but we do try to find time to review them and identify the small number of submissions that meet our standards.”

 

Out of 300 a month, how many are actually approved?

“We run 3 to 4 guest posts a month.”

 

Did Matt Cutt’s Guest Blogging warning affect ReadWrite’s guest posts policy in any way?

“We were already aware that some of our guest-post submitters had ulterior motives in trying to place a post with us. Our editorial review process, we believe, does a good job of screening those people out. We applaud Matt’s efforts. If he succeeds in discouraging spammers from trying to use guest posts as a vehicle to boost their search-engine rankings, then we may benefit by seeing less junk in our submission queue.”

 

What’s the best way for a startup to approach ReadWrite?

“We don’t focus on covering startups. We’re interested in transformative technologies and their impact on the world. So the first thing is not to assume that working for a startup makes us predisposed to cover you; if anything, I’d say the opposite is true.

If you’re truly working on some innovation that helps us map the programmable world and illuminate the future direction of technology for our readers, then a brief note by email is great.”

 

Is it true that “cold, short emails” get more attention from Editors?

“No need to be cold. But brevity is always laudable.”

 

Will it affect your decision about a guest post if the contributor socialized with you on Twitter during the process?

“No, though it’s always fun to have positive interactions with people on Twitter.”

 

Last fun question: Did it ever happen that a contributor was so upset with being rejected, that he actually talked rude or even insulted you?

“I can’t recall that happening, but it wouldn’t make much of an impression if it did. I don’t recommend working in journalism if you don’t have a thick skin.”

 

 

We thank Owen for his time and wish you the best in becoming one of the very few that ARE accepted as a ReadWrite columnist!

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Yours, 

Yoav Vilner is Ranky's Co-Founder. He's sexually attracted to startups and that's just one of 11 reasons you should basically stay away from him.

If you dare, find him on Google+ and Twitter.

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