Each Monday, we’re giving readers a chance to get to know the media a little better.
With a little flair.
Our goal is to give readers some insight into the work and work style of area journalists, and get to know a little bit about the person behind the byline. Start your week off with an online networking opportunity through our Media Monday blog post.
Sharon Pian Chan is the associate opinions editor/digital for The Seattle Times. She is working on reinventing opinion for the digital era — making commentary real-time and snack-sized in the Ed Cetera blog, instantaneous with Twitter and interactive with live chats and live blogs. She also wrangles guest columns, or op eds.
Chan has reported on the biggest local institutions in Seattle, including Microsoft, city hall, King County and the University of Washington. Before moving to Seattle, she was managing editor for Orange Coast magazine in California. She serves as vice president for the nonprofit alliance UNITY Journalists. Like Gwen Stefani, she’s just an Orange County girl. Chan is a graduate of Pomona College in Claremont, Calif.
Chan now lives in Capitol Hill with her husband, Seattle Times sports reporter Danny O’Neil, and a wrinkly dog. Follow her on Twitter @sharonpianchan.
Q: What’s the best thing about being in the Seattle media scene?
A: Our readers. People here are smart, civically engaged, tech savvy and passionate about supporting locally owned businesses, whether it’s where they shop or where they get their news.
Q: If you weren’t working at your current job, what would you be doing?
A: Working at a tech company, bundling political-campaign contributions and blogging at night with a tiny, cult following.
Q: What’s your favorite kind of story?
A: It would be like an Instagram photo. Instagram takes an ordinary photo and filters the image to make it more interesting. A great story reframes an issue in a whole new light.
Q: Finish this sentence: “A good PR person is …”
A: …twitchy responsive to journalists on deadline, honest when they can’t talk about something and smart enough to identify where a journalist’s and client’s goals overlap.
Q: What’s your favorite story you’ve done in the last week?
A: Our editorial board’s “I Do” social-media campaign to support same-sex marriage and approve Referendum 74. Readers have sent us more than 200 photos and we are publishing them online.
Q: What hidden talent or skill do you have that viewers/readers don’t know about you?
A: I’m a serious classical pianist. Right now I’m preparing to audition for a big deal teacher, which has been as stressful as prepping for a recital. My neighbors hate me. For real. One sent me an anonymous note.
The PR Pro Takeaway: Chan may have come from down the coast but it sounds like she is home to stay in Seattle. As one of the more social media-savvy journalists around, you’d be wise to consider those methods for outreach. And be caffeinated; take note of the “twitchy responsive” preference she has regarding PR people. Follow her on Twitter, but stay out of her neighborhood until her piano audition is over.