Meet the Media – Joan Morris

Joan Morris is the pets and wildlife columnist for the Bay Area News Group. She also writes about gardening and is the founder of Our Garden, a demonstration garden in Walnut Creek. Morris started her career in 1978 as a reporter for a small New Mexico newspaper. She has lived in the Bay Area since 1988.

What’s your top priority at work for today?

Today mostly is about writing my columns and researching answers for future columns. I also keep an eye out for animal trends or news stories that I can turn around quickly for online.

Tell us about your dream assignment.

I’ve been pretty fortunate over my career to cover a lot of “dream assignments” including the landing of the space shuttle in the New Mexico desert and two Super Bowls. As the pets and wildlife columnist, I think a visit to the Westminster Kennel Club dog show would be one of those dreams. I’d also like to see the Rose Parade up close and personal.

Describe one of the wackiest proposals/ideas you’ve been sent.

I honestly can’t think of any, but I do feel sorry for the PR rep who tries to make a connection between their client’s product or service, and a national event or trend. In most cases, there really is no connection to be made, but boy, they try their hardest.

What is your PR/marketing pet peeve?

This might surprise you, but it’s when a PR representative sends me a great idea, but sends it too late for me to do anything about it. I guess another peeve might be the pitches that come across with this wording: “Want to know more about these fascinating subject? Then email me.” We just don’t have time for coyness anymore.

What’s a top industry trend you’re currently following or are interested in?

Anything pets or wildlife related always gets my attention, and it seems like with everything in life, we’re going high tech.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I recently celebrated my 40th year as a newspaper journalist. Sadly, I doubt we’ll see that kind of longevity in the future. I’ve been in the Bay Area for 30 years. I started at the Contra Costa Times in 1988 as a general assignment reporter and I’ve been a features writer, the death and dying reporter, the Home and Garden editor and now, the pets and wildlife columnist and garden writer. Before that, I worked for the El Paso Times in its New Mexico bureaus, and before that, I worked at the Artesia Daily Press in Artesia, New Mexico. The newspaper business has changed a lot in those four decades, but fortunately, I still love what I do and hope to continue doing it for a few more years to come. When I sit down to write, I am my happiest and most content.

Questions for Joan? Leave a comment below or tweet her directly at @AskJoanMorris.

5 thoughts on “Meet the Media – Joan Morris

  1. Joan, as someone who has been in this business since 1978, I applaud your longevity. And I love that the Bay Area News Group has a “pets and wildlife reporter.” As a pet owner myself, I’m always interested in any stories related to medical care for our dogs, such as: the best veterinarians in the Bay Area; what’s the best insurance program for my pet?; and what are the best (and worst) pet foods for my pet. I’m assuming you’ve probably covered these topics in the past, but I’ll be sure to be an avid reader of your columns moving forward. Cheers, David

  2. The Bay Area is the most pet-friendly city I’ve ever lived in, so it makes total sense they’d need a sharp journalist to report on all things furry. Thanks for keeping us informed, Joan. I’m looking forward to reading more of your stories.

  3. Hi Joan – I’m sure you’re busy covering how the smoke/wildfires affect pets/wildlife…we’ve had quite the infestation of mosquitos in Pacifica – I think they’re escaping the smoke by coming indoors. Amazing how the air quality affects all the life around the Bay.

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