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for a different Saleem Khan.
receive a lot of requests from people and organizations with whom I've
had no previous contact to give advice, analysis, coverage,
information, a talk or training. I appreciate your interest and thank
you for thinking of me but there just isn't enough time for me to
accept every meeting and phone call, so here are some guidelines to
help ensure that both you and I get the most out of our time. I like
meeting and talking to new and interesting people doing new and
interesting things. I hope this helps us make that happen:
deciding to contact me, please read these contact
guidelines to ensure best results for both of us.
love (and hate) e-mail
In general, the best way to reach me is by e-mail. Please send a
message with a clear, concise subject line and as much detail as
possible on whatever you're contacting me about. Include a concise
executive summary at the top of your e-mail, followed by a statement of
whether you need a response and when, and as much
detail as possible on your story. More information is better as it
helps me understand what you're working on, spark my curiosity and
prioritize my tasks, which increases the speed and likelihood of a
response. If you can't read your executive summary aloud in one breath,
it is too long.
I spend at least two hours a day on e-mail. As I write this I have over
11,000 unopened messages in my inbox. That should tell you how important
the subject line and executive summary are. On non-urgent items, if I
haven't responded to you within one or two weeks, feel free to send a
Depending on my other commitments and the nature of your e-mail, we can
discuss it further via e-mail, phone or in person as warranted. I look
forward to it!
or producers on deadline
Please call me directly. If your request is urgent
call goes to voicemail, please leave a message and follow up
immediately with an e-mail that outlines in as much detail as possible
the background of the story or segment you are working on and what you
need from me.
If you had some lead time on your story, please e-mail your interview
request with as much detail as possible. Please do not forget to
include your full contact information, including your phone number,
If you are contacting me about a story related to the Canadian
Association of Journalists or an issue of journalistic freedom, I am no longer involved with the group of people representing themselves as the CAJ but may be available for comment as an individual journalist and advocate for media freedom.
or other people pitching a story
On a light day, I receive dozens of pitches. This can easily surpass
100 to 200 pitches a day in peak news cycles such as the autumn. You
can understand that if we spoke on the phone for every pitch, I would
have little to no time to do actually report a story or do anything
Please send an e-mail with a clear subject line about what you are
pitching and a concise executive summary at the top of the message
body, followed by as much detail as possible on your story. If you
can't read your executive summary aloud in one breath, it is too long.
Please do not call to confirm that I received your e-mail. If you sent
it, I probably received it. But sometimes the Intertubes get blocked
and an e-mail goes astray, so if your story is something that you know
I am likely interested in based on my previous work or our prior
contact, feel free to send it again as a reminder.
I apologize in advance for not being able to respond to every pitch. I
am human and odds are that I just don't have the current capacity (time
or outlet) to reply if I am not able to cover your story.
Please e-mail me. I have a lot of time for students. Well, not really,
because I am always pressed for time but I do try to open my schedule
for students. I remember what it was like being a student trying to get
the attention of someone with knowledge I needed, so fire away.
I should add that I'm not a free homework service or last-minute
substitute for doing your research -- it's neither fair to you and your
education nor to me and my time -- and I will gauge requests based on
what I did when I was in school. In other words, I'll be much more
impressed and likely to have a conversation with you if I see some
evidence that you have done even basic legwork, which is a lot easier
these days thanks to Google.
Please e-mail. On average, I give one formal talk a month, both public
(conferences, lectures, panels, etc.) and private (newsrooms,
non-profits, schools, corporate and industry groups), mainly in Canada
and the U.S.A. This doesn't include local meetups with small groups of
people who gather to discuss a particular topic.
I appreciate and am flattered that you would think of me to speak to
your audience and would be happy to do so if I can. Sadly, time does
not permit me to accept every speaking request but you can increase the
likelihood by contacting me as far in advance as possible. If there is
travel involved, please let me know whether there is an honorarium,
stipend, travel budget or speaker's fee. That doesn't mean I won't
speak at your event if you can't pay me, but it does mean that you
should contact me as early as possible to help me plan my time so I can
pay my bills and be available to speak at your event.
want to pick my brain?
Please e-mail. I receive a lot of requests for expertise and insight on
projects people are working on. I can't respond to all of them and I
have to say that I'm not inclined toward messages, phone calls or
meetings for one-way brain-picking. I'd prefer to have a meaningful
exchange of ideas that leaves us both better informed.
That said, I do casually share my thoughts and advice with almost
anyone seeking them nearly every week at the many tech and business
talks and networking events around Toronto.
on your project, startup, etc.
E-mail, please. See the section above about picking my brain. If your
request doesn't fall under casual advice and you want me to look at
something and offer my thoughts, an executive summary is extremely
important. I'd love to look at all of the interesting things many of
you are working on but time is our enemy, so any request that would
forseeably take more than a few minutes to digest and respond to likely
falls into the consulting category, below. Not sure? E-mail.
e-mail. I do limited consulting work and am very particular about the
projects I work on. Most of my consulting and training revolves around
helping people in news and other organizations understand, integrate
and make use of social media and technology online and in their
workflows and processes, and strategy in areas I do not cover as a
journalist. To a lesser extent, I do some media and business strategy
work and give critical feedback and analysis to organizations where it
does not conflict wtith my journalistic coverage; i.e., if I report on
your company, I will not and can not work for or advise you no matter
how nice you are. If in doubt, e-mail.
Please e-mail with as much information about your organization or
project as possible. I'm on several non-profit, foundation and ad hoc
boards of directors and advisors so I am unlikely to make a major time
commitment to new ones. However, it depends on time available and the
nature of your project.
Even if we're not able to work together, I may know someone who would
be well-suited to fulfilling your request.
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