PR Pitching Tips for Los Angeles Times Columnist Joel Stein


This is a conversation I had with Los Angeles Times Columnist Joel Stein about the future of traditional media formats, working with public relations firms, and how he decides what to write about.

Photo By Mrmanhattanproject, CC BY-SA 2.5,

Joel Stein grew up in Edison, N.J., went to Stanford, and then worked for Martha Stewart for a year.

After two years of fact-checking various publications, he was hired as a sports editor at Time Out New York. Two years later, he became a staff writer for Time magazine, where he wrote a dozen cover stories on subjects such as Michael Jordan, Las Vegas, the Internet bubble, and low-carb diets over seven and a half years. 

He has appeared on any TV show that asks him: VH1’s “I Love the Decade You Tell Me I Love,” HBO’s “Phoning It In,” Comedy Central’s “Reel Comedy,” and E! Entertainment’s “101 Hottest Hot Hotties’ Hotness.” 

After teaching a class in humor writing at Princeton, he moved to L.A. at the beginning of 2005 to write a column for the Los Angeles Times. He still contributes to Time and other magazines.


4:18 – Joel Stein talks about appearing on television shows, his background, and his experience as an editor and a journalist.

8:06 – Stein talks about getting hired for The Los Angeles Times and bosses he has enjoyed working with.

10:39 – Stein on the future of magazines and newspapers in the age of new technology.

12:40 – Stein talks about his column and how it fits with the entertainment beat of The LA Times.

14:06 – Stein on whether there is a need for analysis and opinion columns in print media: “I’m getting paid nicely to write this column for the LA Times and I’m essentially just writing a blog. If everyone has a blog, I don’t know if more opinion columns are great for newspapers.”

15:19 – Stein on who constitutes his primary audience. 

15:59 – Stein talks about his column and how he decides what to write about: “My main thought is not to say something everyone else has said…”

25: 41 – Stein on speaking with publicists daily.

26:04 – Stein talks about how many pitches he receives are on target. 

27:13 – Stein on why pitches can often be bad. 

27:51 – Stein discusses how the editorial process behind the opinion and news pages differs.

29:10 – Stein on how to ensure not to write about the same things as other opinion writers.

30:20 – Stein talks about his controversial column, “Warriors and Wussies,” which also generated much national attention.

34:25 – Stein on the impact of the column on his image.

35:21 – Stein offers words of advice to public relations practitioners.

37:22 – Stein talks about writing for Time Magazine.

38:58 – End.

Photo by Chris Briggs on Unsplash

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