Meet the Media – Aarti Shah, Senior Editor/Associate Partner at the Holmes Report

Meet Aarti Shah, Senior Editor/Associate Partner at the Holmes Report
Aarti ShahWhat’s your top story for today? 
Susan Butenhoff taking over Ketchum’s global tech practice. What’s quite notable is most of the big agencies have undergone a leadership shakeup in their technology practice in recent months. It’s indicative of how the technology PR landscape is dramatically shifting.
Tell us about your dream assignment. 
I’ve got many pending on my list — it’s a matter of a finding the time to do the types of deep dives to give them the space and time they deserve. But aside from the long reads, I really like tracking the ongoing evolution the PR industry is grappling with on a daily basis. I’ve been doing this for a long enough time — and having practiced PR myself — that I tend to look at industry developments through a much bigger lens.
Describe the wackiest story you’ve written. 
Soon after college, I was living in Austin, Texas and Star Magazine (yes, that Star Magazine) asked me to visit boutiques that I think Sandra Bullock shops at. My assignment was to get the salespeople to dish out gossip on her. Uncomfortable with that approach, I tried for a fashion angle, asking the boutiques to show me clothes and accessories that fit Sandra Bullock’s style profile. The piece ultimately wasn’t salacious enough for Star Magazine.
What is your PR pet peeve? 
Since I’ve been in the PR person’s shoes, I know how demanding pitching can be. But even so, I get annoyed by outright laziness — asking for information that is obviously available online or asking for links for stories that can easily be found with a quick search. These are pitfalls I avoided as PR person, so I feel justified expecting that now. The other things would be, drop the marketing speak and have conversations with people like humans. Most PR people are good at this, but I still come across some who I feel are constantly trying to sell me something and it would be far more effective to have a regular conversation.
Top trend in the industry you’re currently covering or are interested in. 
I’ve already mentioned a few — but on a very high level, how PR agencies are adapting in a somewhat challenging environment. For most firms, media relations is still a huge revenue source, but it’s critical they make investments in emerging areas to stay competitive. It’s really interesting to see which of these investments pay off and which end up having to be reconfigured because of a misalignment with market demand.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m from Texas but, as an adult, have lived in New York; North Carolina; Washington, DC; the UK; Ireland; the Bay Area; Boston; Houston; and Los Angeles. I’m finally back in the Bay Area after five years away, most recently having lived on the Westside of Los Angeles. While I’ve like aspects of every place we’ve lived, it’s really nice to be back.
Questions or comments? Shout out in the comment section below or send an email to Aarti at [email protected].

8 thoughts on “Meet the Media – Aarti Shah, Senior Editor/Associate Partner at the Holmes Report

  1. Aarti,
    Star Magazine? Now that must have been a learning experience! Thanks for all of the insight: pitching and the rapidly changing communications world.

  2. Aarti, thanks so much for contributing. I knew you were a Texan, but you worked for STAR? Boy, do we have another lunchtime conversation coming. . .thanks for all you do for the PR industry, you are one of the rockstar industry journalists. Cheers, David

  3. Thanks for the opportunity Sean and David! To be fair, I didn’t work for STAR magazine, it was a freelance assignment that came to me from another journalist. It was the first — and last — piece I did for them. 🙂

  4. Nothing is more annoying than people spending time typing an email to ask a question that is easily searchable online. Send them a link like this from the site, “Let me Google that for you”…
    Thanks for sharing Aarti!

  5. Thanks for contributing to the blog, Aarti! There is some sound advice for PR pros in your post. Do you find that your PR background helps you in your career as a journalist?

  6. Hi Elena – Indeed, I certainly feel that my time in PR has helped me as a journalist in a few ways:
    -Since I cover PR, my background gives me a deeper insight and appreciation into what the PR industry is experiencing right now, especially when it comes to modernizing services/offerings against client demands.
    – There is a certain rigor of multi-tasking, organization and detail-orientation that can really be mastered inside of a fast-paced agency environment. As I manage various aspects of the Holmes Report’s business at this point, these skills have been hugely valuable.
    Hope that helps.

  7. Aarti — Thanks so much for sharing your insights! It’s great to learn from your experience.
    I agree with your assessment that tech/PR is changing significantly. It will be interesting to see how the landscape evolves.

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