Hot Off the Press: Jake Paine, Former Editor-in-Chief HipHopDX.com
I am formerly the editor-in-chief of HipHopDX.com and have worked
professionally in the hip-hop media for over a decade. Beginning as a
freelance writer/reporter, I eventually became the features editor of
AllHipHop.com. In 2007, I moved to DX, where I helped the site reach
over 2.7 million monthly unique visitors. Additionally, I have written
for Forbes.com, XXL, The Source and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. I am also a Pittsburgh native living in Philadelphia since 2002.
1. What’s your favorite part about your job?
This may sound crazy, but I love telling people good news, and great compliments about their art. I love bringing artists who mean and have meant so much to my life to other people. To get to put the spotlight and microphone in front of talent and find fans is just a great process.
2. What’s the most important skill you need to be successful in your job?
I think being fully present is essential to this line of work. For 11 years, I’ve answered nearly 99% of all emails that are personally sent to me. It can be a frustrating process, but especially working in a market besides New York or Los Angeles, being highly-communicative has allowed me to build crucial relationships, and in turn, a reputation. I take a lot of pride in my ear and my writing, along with my leadership, but showing up 24/7 has been truly my hallmark.
3. As an editor, you are bombarded with requests to cover vast amounts of content any advice to publicists pitching stories to better their chances of content being placed?
From my vantage point, having product helps. Mailing CDs and press kits in antiquated, but I cannot tell me how many important decisions I’ve made based on giving something unknown a chance listen. I really don’t have the time or interest to dive through download links and digital rabbit-holes. I’m not a blogger or a Music Editor. It’s not my job to find the next star, so every bit helps. I also think that building an open relationship is easy. The people who I deal with the most know me well, and my publication’s tone, taste and content.
4. Any real-life examples of good or bad pitching?
It’s bad practice to mass-email. So is it to pitch something that’s already been covered. I like to know that people who are asking for my staff’s time are familiar with the staff’s efforts. A good pitch begins with a sincere, polite introduction. I also think that phone-calls are highly unnecessary. If publicists, labels and artists feel that promotional CDs and press kits are antiquated, so are phone-calls. The most important industry folks we deal with seem to feel the same.
5. What’s the most memorable experience you have had in your career thus far?
It’s been great to be one of the first journalists to cover Wiz Khalifa, Little Brother, Jay Rock and a handful of others. I can’t say that’s the most memorable, but I’m very proud of things like that.