Meet the Media – Samantha Weigel, Reporter at the San Mateo Daily Journal
- What’s your top story for today?
Every day brings a new story to be told, and I’m typically responsible for writing 10 articles a week that cover everything from crime to quirky profiles. One reoccurring top story I’ve been covering for nearly two years now is public access to Martin’s Beach — a contested coastal property that’s sparked legislation, two lawsuits and review by state environmental agencies.
- Tell us about your dream assignment.
My dream assignment would involve a firsthand experience; one in which I get to fully immerse in what life is like for the subjects I’m covering. While I don’t always mind sitting at a desk conducting interviews over the phone, there’s nothing like jumping into a new environment or going behind the scenes. One of the most rewarding things about being a journalist is getting to connect with people from various backgrounds, many you would never meet in your normal course of life.
- Describe the wackiest story you’ve written.
Although our coverage area is somewhat limited to San Mateo County boundaries, my job has taken me on some pretty interesting adventures. It’s hard to pinpoint the wackiest, but I’ve been everywhere from riding on the back of an ATV while touring a 1,000-acre cattle ranch to witness the effects of California’s drought, to a sneak preview of a posh fine art exhibit courtesy of the Landis Communications team! One notable story took me into a cypress tree grove where a local artist who’d been hauling pianos to the beach bluff tops gave a twilight concert. Between an aerial dancer hanging from the trees and an impromptu sing along of “Build Me Up Buttercup,” it truly felt like a beatnik blast from the past!
- What is your PR pet peeve?
I think something that’s often lost in today’s easy email-blast world is the concept of knowing your target audience. In any form of communications — whether it’s print, broadcast or public relations — it helps to tailor a story or pitch. As a reporter for a daily publication, it’s always refreshing to work with PR teams who can manage my strict deadlines and quickly connect me with appropriate sources or experts.
- Top trend in the industry you’re currently covering or are interested in.
As broad as it sounds, I think learning about how various individuals or communities adapt to changes in their surroundings is fascinating. Living in a region that scientists predict will be one of the country’s top 10 hotspots to be impacted by climate change has driven much of what I write about. Whether it’s homeowners who’ve taken great strides conserving water to help combat California’s drought, or state legislators considering how to prepare for sea level rise by bolstering shoreline protection projects, I’m interested in adaptation.
- Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a Bay Area native with a passion for knowledge and a weakness for fancy cheese. I was raised in Palo Alto with an appreciation of the arts, technology and culture. I spent most of my formative adult years living in Hawaii where I fortified interests in environmental policies and sustainability. I returned to the Bay Area about three years ago and now reside in cozy Half Moon Bay. With a flair for investigative reporting and photojournalism, I appreciate how working in communications affords me endless opportunities to learn about a broad range of topics.
Questions or comments for Samantha? Leave a comment below or tweet Samantha @samantha_weigel.