Episode 3, Season 4
What Makes for Good Media
The “Headline Hunter” Kathryn Rickmeyer joins our host Kriste Goad to discuss pitching stories, how to make content valuable, and the importance of media in marketing.
Kathryn Rickmeyer got her start in the news industry as a television news producer for an NBC affiliate in Huntsville, Alabama. Her articles for the Nashville Post and Nashville Scene quickly gained traction and international attention after moving to Nashville, and she’s been cited by The Guardian, NBC, CoinDesk and other national and international news outlets.
Tune in as the Headline Hunter, Kathryn Rickmeyer and host Kriste Goad get the fire started on this episode of How It’s Done. Up next:
- How to make media work for you
- Quality vs. Quantity
- Crafting the perfect pitch
More From This Episode
(2:23) Kathryn Rickmeyer discusses why she created Tennbeat and the news that Tennbeat shares.
(9:40) Kathryn Rickmeyer and Kriste Goad discuss the importance of relationships and trust in reporting and PR.
(12:46) How should you pitch a story to a reporter or media outlet?
(17:45) Kathryn Rickmeyer details how humanized reporting often gets missed by business reporters and why it is crucial.
(22:04) Kathryn Rickmeyer and Kriste Goad give their take on quality over quantity and how it has shifted in journalism.
(34:16) The stories Tennbeat breaks and what sets Tennbeat apart from other news outlets
[00:00:04.330] – Kriste Goad
Hey, welcome to How It’s done. A podcast for Curious Marketers. I’m Kriste Goad. I’ll be your host, and I’m really glad you’re here. Today, we’re talking with journalist Kathryn Rickmeyer, founder of Tennbeat. I’m super excited to dig into the topic of what makes for a good story and for my fellow PR and media relations folks out there, what makes for a good pitch.
But first, a little about Kathryn. Some people call her Kathryn. Others call her the headline hunter, because if there’s a story, she’ll break it. She’s broken stories on everything from meth-fueled attack squirrels to new Amtrak lines. Kathryn got her start in the news industry as a television news producer for an NBC affiliate in Huntsville, Alabama.
After moving to Nashville, she quickly made a name for herself as a reporter for The Nashville Post and The Nashville Scene. Her articles have been cited in The Guardian, NBC, CoinDesk, and numerous other national and international news outlets. Last year, Kathryn launched Tennbeat, a statewide online news outlet covering technology, business, and commercial real estate. Tennbeat has broken stories on everything from Nashville soccer club players getting paid in crypto to the first female tech founder to raise $1.5 million in 8 hours.
[00:01:30.810] – Kriste Goad
That’s actually the story that caught my attention as I was scrolling through my LinkedIn feed. And it’s how I came to ask Kathryn to be a guest on this very podcast. You’ll notice that unlike most business publications, there is no paywall on Tennbeat, because Kathryn believes information should be free, which is a great segway into my first question for you, Kathryn. What inspired you to start Tennbeat and how can you offer it to readers for free?
[00:01:58.600] – Kathryn Rickmeyer
So, Tennbeat, like I said, my whole career has been in news, whether it’s been TV news or being a staff reporter. And when I left the traditional newsroom, because as much as I love news, my bank account does not love news. Not great pay. I was making $40,000 a year with a master’s degree in Nashville.
[00:02:22.250] – Kriste Goad
[00:02:23.870] – Kathryn Rickmeyer
Yeah, just not sustainable. So left news and now work in tech as my nine to five. But still, writing is my passion in storytelling as well as connecting. And so I’m like, okay, I’m going to start Substack. And for those unfamiliar with Substack, it is an online platform that allows individuals to easily publish their work and send it out to an email list and monetize it. If you want to make subscriptions so you can create a paywall, it allows you to do that versus you don’t have to set up like, a whole WordPress website. It just allows you to do that very easily. One of the big things that I’ve always maintained is that information should be free. We should not hoard information. Knowledge is power, and I think that we should empower the masses. And so Tennbeat is, like I said, currently a passion project. We have one sponsor hope to grow those sponsors, but more so, Tennbeat is an outlet for me, for my passion, and also to really get inside, scoop and do in depth stories on people. A lot of times, traditional news outlets are guilty of covering the same people all the time. It’s very political.
[00:03:50.000] – Kriste Goad
I have noticed that.
[00:03:55.530] – Kathryn Rickmeyer
What I want to do with Tennbeat is level that playing field and cover people when they do have stories. I do have the news background. I got my master’s from Mizzou in Journalism.
[00:04:12.450] – Kriste Goad
One of the best in the country.
[00:04:14.210] – Kathryn Rickmeyer
It is. But I think that right now there’s two worlds. There’s news world, which is politics, and they play god on who gets covered, but they know how to write, and they’re professional trained journalists on how to make it interesting. And then there’s bloggers who don’t really know how to identify a headline or break news. And I would say Tennbeat is kind of trying to take the good from both and combine it and be more entrepreneurial and meet more people and not be political like news.
But the quality of writing, identifying the headline, breaking stories, not just doing like, volunteer Spotlight, which some blogs do, and really making it about the subject matter and not about me, I think that’s where a lot of content lacks, is everybody knows content is king now, whether you’re doing videos, podcasts, blogs, whatever, content is king. But I think a lot of people get into it for the wrong reasons. They get into it to promote themselves. Obviously. I’m super flattered that you had me on here, but the whole point was the story was about Dina that cut your eye. It wasn’t about Kathryn’s Brand. Now, thankfully, it came back on Tennbeat. And you’re like, hey, I really like Tennbeat.
But the story, I started writing and got on the news because I invest in stories and I care about the subject matter or their business or the issue, not just to say, hey, I want to promote me and my brand. And I feel like in this world of creators, there’s a lot of people that, they don’t actually care about. They just want to promote themselves rather than putting the spotlight on the story, the issue, the guest.
[00:06:18.430] – Kriste Goad
That is so well said. So in thinking about the story, what do you look for in the story?
[00:06:25.550] – Kathryn Rickmeyer
The best thing I’ve learned is from TV news is, what’s the headline? Nobody wants to read my story, unfortunately. But I always tell people there’s two lines of defense. It’s a headline and it’s a thumbnail image. So the headline is what’s new? What’s exciting? How can I catch your attention? It needs to be clear, clever, concise, and what is it new? If there’s no sense of urgency, there’s no reason to.
Like I said, for example, we could say we’ll take Dina’s title, we could say, Tennessee Female Talks about Her Fashion Company. Tennessee female talks about fashion company doesn’t give me urgency. Tennessee Founder 1.5 million 8 hours. Tennessee Founder Makes historic raise. Okay, there’s this urgency in news. So a lot of bloggers will take Dina and be like, Dina Mador is a fashion technologist. Blah. Doesn’t give me a sense of urgency. Historic raise, numbers, clear, point blank, clever.
[00:07:37.100] – Kriste Goad
Painting to your point. Also, that image got my attention too. And then I saw the comments about all the way down to the photographer and the creative director on that. And I mean, image was like super cool and super It was original, right? It was an original that she created with her team.
[00:08:01.040] – Kathryn Rickmeyer
So they actually are like the perfect people to collaborate with because I always tell people I want a good thumbnail image. And so when I was interviewing Dina, I was like, I need a good thumbnail image for this story. I don’t want just to take your headshot. And I was like, in theory, I was like, I imagined Dina on a pile of clothes. But I was like, obviously I’m not paying for the image to be made. But I’m like, this is what I think would get people’s attention because I relate to them. Headlines one line of defense, thumbnails the next. We got to have the one two punch. And so they were like, okay. And so Danny, who works at Couture, he’s like, we’ll make it happen. And then they reach out to Igor, the photographer, who is fantastic. He did an amazing job. And I was like, it’s like you took my hand and took exactly from my brain, like, what I was thinking.
[00:08:50.760] – Kriste Goad
Now that’s a good creative right there. Thats cool. Okay, so what was the time span and all that?
[00:09:00.750] – Kathryn Rickmeyer
Probably about a week. Probably about a week.
[00:09:04.270] – Kriste Goad
I think that’s great context too, because a lot of people, especially if you’re like, you broke that story, right? So it’s breaking news. I’m doing air quotes for people, the listeners, but it’s breaking news. But what a lot of people don’t understand is the work that goes on behind a story like that. It might be a week or two in the making. If I offer you up an exclusive on a story, then that also gives us a little bit of time to really do it well, right?
[00:09:35.130] – Kathryn Rickmeyer
That’s a really great point.
[00:09:36.810] – Kriste Goad
And then you were able to work with them to make that to make.
[00:09:41.070] – Kathryn Rickmeyer
It image what I felt like best it could be. And that’s a great point. Right now I have stories planned out for April and May. I know when people can announce things. To break the news. But I’m like, okay, this is what we need ahead of time. You need to go get this is what I’m thinking for thumbnail. Make this happen. I need this information so I can have it ready to go. Because a lot of breaking news is we’re not talking about a murder or shooting just happening. But these business news, at least people know when they’re going to announce certain things. And that brings me to my point of relationships in reporting of if people, one, trust your integrity and that they can tell you something and you’re not going to tell somebody else before they’re ready, they will tell you that. And then two people trusting you with their story because there’s so many people who’ve had a bad experience with press that they’re reluctant to open up or scared. And so I always tell people, I am very humbled when people choose to share that with me, because that’s a. Lot of trust, right?
[00:10:49.420] – Kathryn Rickmeyer
But then in return, I’m like, let me break it, and I promise you, you won’t regret it. I feel like that’s really writing is one thing. I will never say that I’m, like, the best writer, the most talented writer, but I think the thing that a lot of reporters lack is the relationship building of knowing that, hey, I want to have a good relationship with them. I want to be able to plan things out. I want to respect them so that I do get to break that story, right.
[00:11:24.970] – Kriste Goad
And maybe I’m wrong, but I feel like it’s gotten harder to have those relationships between media and the company on the other side. Or like me, like the PR agency on the other side. Because maybe there’s not that trust. Or maybe I don’t know, maybe there’s not as much energy going into that relationship building as maybe there once was. I could be wrong, but I think it’s also about I want to get into the notion of, like, okay, how should people think about pitching a story to you? And what we talk about on my team is, on the one hand, there’s some of the just basic things that we do, okay, if you want to put out a press release and clients want to put out press releases, that’s one thing, right? You can put out the press release, and this is the story that we’re announcing. This is the news we’re announcing. But that’s very much about what we want to say rather than what’s the real story behind it, right? So to me, it does take time to really think about, well, what would be a really interesting angle on this? What would be something that not only the reporter, but the world would care about and want to read and then take the time to connect those dots?
[00:12:46.140] – Kriste Goad
And I’m just curious, if I’m doing that and I’m pitching you, does it then become a conversation like, oh, okay, that’s interesting, but or, that’s interesting, but I’d be more interested if you could bring me something like X.
[00:13:02.620] – Kathryn Rickmeyer
So I tell people the first thing you need to come to a reporter with is a headline. You need to know, what is that headline? So how do you identify a headline? Well, that depends on your audience. But for business news, you’re thinking, is somebody raising money? Because that’s a headline. So and so raises $1.5 million 8 hours. Okay? Is somebody making a C suite hire? So and so takes helm of Bridgestone. Are they expanding to new markets? So and So opens seven storefronts. Are they, you know, collaborating with another university or local business? Belmont, Fisk partner to do XYZ and so thinking your first thing should be like, what’s the headline? Because any reporter is going to have to have a headline to pitch their editor, or in my case, I want people to open it. And if you don’t have a headline that has urgency newness or why do I care? So think about that first is the headline. The next thing is think about why would the average person care? So an example I like to use is I recently wrote a story on my friend Trinity, who started a motorcycle apparel company for women. Okay, cool.
[00:14:22.150] – Kathryn Rickmeyer
Happy that she launched that. But I am not a motorcycle rider, and only 20% of women own bikes. So why does the average person care about Trinity’s line? Well, I learned women are 47% more likely to suffer severe injuries in a motorcycle accident because of inadequate protective gear. Because in the industry, when I was doing research, they have a thing called shrink it and pink it. Meaning they just take a man’s design, it’s designed for a man’s body, and they shrink it, and they make it rose gold.
[00:14:57.170] – Kriste Goad
Okay, shrink it and pink it?
[00:15:00.880] – Kathryn Rickmeyer
Yeah, shrink it and pink it. It’s an industry fashion term. I told Trinity about it. I was like, do you know about shrink it and pink it? And so what happens is, if it’s not designed to mold to your body and you fall off, you’re getting no protective year. And these are all designed for men’s bodies. Our bodies are very different. So the whole point is, even though I don’t ride motorcycles, it’s not something I’m doing. I’m like, yeah, all these women are getting hurt because they’re not protected. They’re shrinking it and pinking it. And so I think, really finding, why should I care even if I’m not a motor?
[00:15:38.550] – Kathryn Rickmeyer
Why does the average person care even if they don’t ride a motorcycle? That’s what I tell people, is finding, why would the average person care? Yeah. And so now I’m like, oh, no, we need this so that my friend Trinity doesn’t get hurt on the bike. And so I think that’s the next thing it’s figuring out, why would the average person care whether they ride a motorcycle, whether they’re not part of that company, whether they work in fashion or don’t work in fashion? Before Dina’s story, I thought that when I ordered five dresses from Nordstrom and only planned to keep one and returned four, that those four just went to a warehouse or back to Nordstrom. And then I learned that those probably actually went to a landfill or were burned because it costs companies more money to reintegrate returns into their supply chain than it does for them to burn it or toss it in a landfill. And I’m like, what? We don’t think about that.
[00:16:37.380] – Kriste Goad
That makes no sense.
[00:16:38.530] – Kathryn Rickmeyer
And it all comes down to the almighty dollar, and so it’s cheaper for them. And so how do we mitigate returns? Well, it’s all about finding the right fit. That’s why I ordered five dresses, because I’m like, I don’t know which one. And right now, all the fit technology is just being like, take measurements of yourself. It doesn’t factor in how does spandex cling to you versus denim, versus polyester versus silk. It doesn’t take into effect the pattern of each individual item. It’s just saying, if these are your measurements, here’s a generic thing size guide.
[00:17:17.290] – Kriste Goad
I had this whole conversation recently. I was going to the beach, and so I needed a new suit. And I go to the swimsuit store, and the one suit that I really wanted, they had a size too big and a size too small, but not the actual size I needed. And I’m like, do these just come in half sizes? Because I always run into this all the time. And the lady at the store, she’s like, no, it just would cost too much to make these incremental sizes that actually fit you, right?
[00:17:45.830] – Kathryn Rickmeyer
Yeah. No, it’s crazy, especially in women’s line. But so, yeah, first thing would be identify the headline. Second thing, why does the average person care? And third thing is humanize. And I think this is the thing that a lot of business reporters forget to do, is we’ll just be so focused on so and so, raise however much money, they’re going to mature their software with it, and hire five people. This is the people who invested. End of story. And it’s a little cold, and it doesn’t feel human. I mean, Chat GPT can put that together versus one of the fun things, one of the things I love the most about reporting is getting to really know people. So, like, in Dina’s case, I asked her, and she was raising on International Women’s Day. I’m like, well, was your mom an entrepreneur? And she was like, no, my mom was a cop. And I was like, oh, okay. She’s like, My mom was actually the first female sheriff’s deputy in Macon County. And I was like, no way. I was like, that is so cool. And she’s like, yeah, before that, she spent 40 years in the military.
[00:18:57.780] – Kathryn Rickmeyer
And so in that moment, I was like, Dina, do you realize your mom was like, a Rosie the Riveter, a pioneer of her time? And you’re breaking into a male dominated industry. It’s different than your mom’s, but it’s like, following the footsteps of that. You guys are both breaking barriers for women. And she was like, I’ve never thought about it like that. And I had another story with my friend Camille. She is a Latina founder, and she received funding from Google. It was a Latina founders fund initiative to help minority businesses. And when I was talking to her, I said, well, was anybody in your family an entrepreneur? Why did you want to be an entrepreneur? And she was like, oh, my grandmother was an entrepreneur. She was like, she immigrated from Mexico to Chicago and used to sell tacos on the street corner, but was then harassed by police, et cetera. And I said, well, let’s think about it this way. So your grandmother came here however many years ago, and she couldn’t run her business because she was harassed by police selling her tacos. And now her granddaughter just received funding from one of the largest tech companies in the world.
[00:20:10.260] – Kathryn Rickmeyer
And she was like, oh, I have chills. And I was like, but it’s true. But those are the things that you really have to get to know people like to know Camilles abuela and to know that she was selling her chicken tacos on the street corner and she was being harassed in Chicago and knowing that. But those are the questions that humanize the story and make people sometimes even the founders don’t realize I’m like, let’s put this in perspective, right?
[00:20:40.750] – Kriste Goad
They’ve never thought of it that way, to your point.
[00:20:43.710] – Kathryn Rickmeyer
And that’s not a question that sometimes it’s in Dina’s case, asking, Is your mom? She’s like, no, she’s a sheriff’s deputy. And then her saying, oh, she’s the first sheriff’s deputy. I’m like, okay, look, you’re both breaking barriers. So I think some of those just have to be conversations, and you have to invest the time to really know.
[00:21:05.770] – Kriste Goad
Thats where I was about to go. It takes time, right? And so much of what we see in the news or online or in social these days, it’s just throw it out there and let’s not even actually have a conversation with anybody, and let’s just make up what we think the story is. We don’t actually know what it is, and there’s so much disinformation that gets out there, but it really is taking the time. Is that also sort of part of what inspired you is, like, with Tennbeat and self publishing, you can do it in your own way, on your own timeline, take the time you want to take to get and
[00:21:47.520] – Kathryn Rickmeyer
Do it my way. And that was something. As much as I love being a reporter, one, I have full control over what stories I do now. I don’t have to go pitch them to an editor. I am editor in chief.
[00:22:00.790] – Kriste Goad
I love that.
[00:22:04.830] – Kathryn Rickmeyer
I take my stories very seriously. This is going to come off crazy. They’re my babies. If I’m going to put my name on something, I want it to be good. I don’t want to churn and burn and rewrite press releases. That’s not what I want to be known for. And when you work in traditional TV news or regular news, it’s like, hey, you’ve got to turn stories daily.
[00:22:30.830] – Kriste Goad
Some of them might be good and some of them might not be any good.
[00:22:35.040] – Kathryn Rickmeyer
And part of that is sometimes you can’t get all the sources you need that day, or sometimes people don’t have the time to give you. Like, your subject doesn’t have the time to spend. Like, Dina and I sat down for an hour. Well, if I just would have randomly called Dina on a day and said, hey, she might have not had an hour of time to give me, or I might not have had I’m like, no, I got to get this out by 03:00 on this blast. And so I’ve set a personal goal with Tennbeat to do one story a week, or I’ll do two stories one week, and then depending on timelines of breaking news. But anything I do, I believe that whoever my source is, they are giving me a great gift of letting me tell their story. And I want to do it the best way possible for them and for me. Kathryn Rickmeyer does not want her name on something that I’m not super proud of. I want my quality of work to speak to that because I’ll tell people, I’m like, yeah, I want everybody to get all the press they can get because I’m going to tell their story differently than somebody else is going to tell their story.
[00:23:42.550] – Kathryn Rickmeyer
But I know nobody is going to invest more time in you than I am going to. I might not be the best writer, I may not be, but I genuinely care about everybody who I collaborate with and like to forge that relationship. And I think that’s what it’s all about is taking the time rather than just slapping stuff out there. Because, again, I think what made Dina story cool, I mean, yes, it was a historic raise, but really humanizing to be like, wow, her mom and knowing that’s one of the most conservative counties in Tennessee and her mom was doing that, that’s what made it unique and interesting. And then talking to the investors that day who were like, yeah, it really is about Dina. We were in because of her. She could have started.
[00:24:32.310] – Kriste Goad
Investors say they’re investing in the founder, because that founder, they have a great story, and they’re able to tell that story, and they know that that person is going to be successful.
[00:24:43.710] – Kathryn Rickmeyer
Yeah. And I think that that’s the real magic behind it. And like you said, you hit the nail on the head. It’s really investing the time. And i don’t get to write as many stories because I’m not full time with this, but I would rather take my time on the stories that I do and put out quality rather than quantity.
[00:25:05.790] – Kriste Goad
That’s so cool. And so how do you promote your stories? How do you get people’s eyes on those stories? Is it mostly LinkedIn.
[00:25:13.320] – Kathryn Rickmeyer
So I have a subscriber list so people can subscribe and it comes straight to your email.
[00:25:19.010] – Kriste Goad
I did just do that,
[00:25:20.610] – Kathryn Rickmeyer
I appreciate it.
[00:25:21.250] – Kriste Goad
It went straight to my email, and now I’ve been going back and reading all your past content. It’s awesome.
[00:25:26.120] – Kathryn Rickmeyer
Thank you so much. So you can do it that way. And then I really promote on LinkedIn, that’s where my audience is just because my articles are more business articles. So that’s really my target demographic, and that’s my take. So I always share them on LinkedIn. You should follow the Tennbeat page. We’re trying to get followers on the Tennbeat page, but I also share them on my personal LinkedIn page to promote that. So, yeah, that’s how I do it. And it’s been really rewarding. And I tell people writing is what makes me happiest. It’s a creative outlet. It’s a connectivity outlet. I love to connect with all different people. You get to learn about things that you would have no business learning about.
[00:26:13.290] – Kriste Goad
[00:26:14.390] – Kathryn Rickmeyer
And it forces you to learn about things that you may not like. The other week, I wrote a story about shipping containers being moved. Going to be honest, I’ve never cared to look up about how shipping containers are moved. Okay, well, then after I do this story about this guy raising money, I’m like, let me just tell you about the shipping container problem. It is my new found, like, passion.
[00:26:40.770] – Kriste Goad
Right? You make a great point with this. There’s always a cool story behind anything.
[00:26:48.420] – Kathryn Rickmeyer
It’s just sitting down and taking the time to figure out what makes it cool, why it matters. And like I said, that was something I would have never sought that out. I would have never been like, I’m going to research shipping containers and learn about this whole thing. And honestly, when I made the connection to the person, I was like, okay, yeah, we’ll do it. You’ve got a headline for sure. But I had so much fun with it, and I’m like, there’s more to empty containers than you think. So I think that’s the other thing is it forces you to learn about things that you wouldn’t normally think that you care about.
[00:27:25.090] – Kriste Goad
Right? Yeah. One of our values at my agency is be curious. And I’m like, Listen, asking questions is a sign of strength, and curiosity will get you everywhere. I am a firm believer in that, and it’s just fun. It makes life fun. And you learn about people and you learn about things, and you never know where it’s going to take you.
[00:27:47.210] – Kathryn Rickmeyer
No, I think you’re right. It’s the insatiable curiosity.
[00:27:53.110] – Kriste Goad
Yes. So I got a couple of sort of burning questions before we have to sign.
[00:27:59.180] – Kathryn Rickmeyer
[00:28:01.610] – Kriste Goad
One, I’m always curious, what was your first job? Was it as a reporter?
[00:28:05.700] – Kathryn Rickmeyer
I was a lifeguard. I was a lifeguard when I was 15, my sister drove me to the pool that I worked at because I wasn’t old enough to drive.
[00:28:18.510] – Kriste Goad
Are you from Missouri?
[00:28:20.180] – Kathryn Rickmeyer
No, I’m actually from Huntsville, Alabama.
[00:28:22.730] – Kriste Goad
Okay, got it.
[00:28:23.620] – Kathryn Rickmeyer
I learned from that job that I definitely need SPF 40 or above and a sunshirt because people could see right now as white as a ghost and everybody else would have a great tan, and I’m over there with zinc oxide.All over the place.
[00:28:45.750] – Kriste Goad
Okay, well, that does lead me to another question, though. When did you discover you were interested in journalism and being a reporter?
[00:28:54.770] – Kathryn Rickmeyer
So this is actually kind of a funny story. I call it the L Woods of journalism story. So when I was in college, my undergraduate degree is in finance, and I was interning for a commercial real estate broker because I thought like, oh, I might want to do that. And they were paying $15 an hour. So I was like, great college job. And while I was working there, there was a broker that he was friends with that was at another firm who was young, like in his early twentys, and he wrote op eds for AL.com, which was like, our tennessean. And so I come into my boss’s office one day and I said, I’m going to write an op ed, and I’m going to email it to James and he’s going to redline it, and he’s going to ask me to coffee or drinks, and we’re going to fall in love and get married. My boss was like, what? He was like, Kathryn, no, I’m just going to text him right now. You’re a cute girl. He’ll go out with you. And I was like, no, this is how we’re going to fall in love and get together.
[00:29:53.310] – Kriste Goad
This was your love story.
[00:29:55.390] – Kathryn Rickmeyer
So that did not happen. Two days later, I came into my boss’s office, bawling, crying, and he was like, oh my gosh, what’s wrong? Did somebody die? And I said, James thinks I’m stupid. And he goes, what? And I was like, yeah, this is what he sent me back like, when I sent him. And my boss was like, Let me see what you wrote. And so he read, he goes, I think what you wrote is great. It’s way better than anything I’ve ever read of his. And we’re not changing a word. We’re going to submit it as is. And so he sent it in and submitted it for me. And AL.com picked it up and they ran it. It got over 10,000 shares online.
[00:30:36.010] – Kriste Goad
Oh my gosh.
[00:30:37.190] – Kathryn Rickmeyer
Made it in the printed paper. It was on the front page of printed paper on Sunday. Yeah. And I was like, I really like this. And then so I just started writing, like, op eds for Al.com, and then started writing for Alabama Center for Real Estate. When I finished my degree, I still got the finance degree, but when I finished my degree, I knew that I wanted to work in news and then had a friend working at the local TV news station and that’s how I got into that. And then I got my master’s degree while I was working in TV news. It was a hybrid program. So I only had to go to Columbia twice a semester, once for a midterm, once for a final and the rest I did online. But that’s kind of how it happened. So all because I wanted to impress a boy.
[00:31:24.970] – Kriste Goad
Who turned out to be the smart one in that.
[00:31:27.480] – Kathryn Rickmeyer
Yeah. So James did try to go out with me after that and I was like, no, I’m too good for you. But yeah, it was kind of crazy. That is how I went about it. And again, I do not recommend somebody like, I don’t know why I thought that was just like, this is how I’m going to get somebody to ask me out. But so glad that that is what I did because it led me to where I am now.
[00:31:56.490] – Kriste Goad
That’s very cool. I love it. Okay. Can I ask you one more burning question?
[00:32:01.640] – Kathryn Rickmeyer
[00:32:02.440] – Kriste Goad
So aside from James, if you could go to dinner with anyone
[00:32:07.450] – Kathryn Rickmeyer
oh, James. I would not even go to sonic.
[00:32:12.410] – Kriste Goad
All right. Forget James. If you could go to dinner with anyone, who would it be and what’s the one question you would ask?
[00:32:18.990] – Kathryn Rickmeyer
Are they dead or are they alive?
[00:32:20.500] – Kriste Goad
They can be either.
[00:32:22.350] – Kathryn Rickmeyer
Oh, man, that is a tough one. I would go out with that’s super hard.
[00:32:35.010] – Kriste Goad
It is a hard one.
[00:32:36.720] – Kathryn Rickmeyer
It’s so hard.
[00:32:38.530] – Kriste Goad
I feel like anytime I’m ever asked that question, my answer could change from day to day.
[00:32:43.610] – Kathryn Rickmeyer
It could change from day to day for me. But if it was just today, I would probably go to dinner with Michelle Obama. That’s probably who I would go
[00:32:58.780] – Kriste Goad
oh, nice. What would you ask her? I would say a million questions.
[00:33:03.210] – Kathryn Rickmeyer
A million questions. But I would say how did you do it? She has so much strength. I don’t know if anybody out there has read like, Becoming
[00:33:12.760] – Kriste Goad
Only millions of people.
[00:33:15.730] – Kathryn Rickmeyer
Only millions. But Barack is so impressive and obviously a big Obama fan. But I’m like, actually Michelle’s the better half and would love for her to run. I know she’s not going to, but she really held it together and really propped him up and focused and she is somebody who is so extraordinary on her own. I would ask. How did you do that? How did you get there? And I think she has such poise.
[00:33:48.750] – Kriste Goad
Oh, my gosh. So much poise. So much. So much. She’s so honest, right, genuine. Always seems to know the right thing to say. That would be a really fun dinner.
[00:34:01.840] – Kathryn Rickmeyer
I just love her. I’m a big fan. And like I said, not to knock Barack, totally love him. But I’m like she is a force and if she ever ran, I would be running. I would be knocking doors for her in Tennessee.
[00:34:16.290] – Kriste Goad
Okay, that does lead me to one question, though. Okay. Because I started thinking, hey, maybe you could write a story about Michelle somehow, but you’re really just focused on Tennessee. That’s your focus right now.
[00:34:26.290] – Kathryn Rickmeyer
Tennessee. That is my focus right now. It is Tennbeats. I didn’t want to just do Nashville. Now, granted, most of my stories are in Nashville, but I would love anybody out there in Tennessee. I don’t care if you’re in Knoxville, Chattanooga, Cookeville, like, wherever you’re at, because I think that I really like to meet people in person. Everybody I’ve interviewed so far, I have met in person since doing Tennbeat. Yeah, no, we’ve done all of it in person.
[00:34:52.940] – Kriste Goad
[00:34:54.250] – Kathryn Rickmeyer
So that is one thing I like. Since I started Tennbeat, every person who’s been on there has been interviewed in person. And so really out of state. Unless Michelle wants to fly me, which I’m okay with, I would pay if Michelle invited me.
[00:35:12.580] – Kriste Goad
Right, me too.
[00:35:14.870] – Kathryn Rickmeyer
Yeah. No, I think local news matters. And I’ve always thought that from when I started in TV news, the way I look at it is what somebody tweeted or did is really not impacting my life as much as the streetlight being put in near my school or what’s happening in the state legislature, or you can change things at a local level. And I think sometimes we get so invested in all this national stuff, and I’m like local news, local politics matters. Tennessee not doing so great right now.
[00:35:54.210] – Kriste Goad
[00:35:56.610] – Kathryn Rickmeyer
That’s a prime example of the craziness that’s going on here right now. And it’s like we should be focused on that because this directly impacts us versus I don’t really know what’s happening in Congress right now. If it’s going to affect us, it’s not going to affect us for a while. But this is real deal women in Tennessee, if you’re raped incest, there’s no exception to abortion. Probably not going to be one, especially for the LGBTQ community, not a safe, supportive community. And so that’s all happening in the state and on a local level, statewide level. And so I feel like there’s a real need for people to excuse my language about what’s happening in their own backyard.
[00:36:44.140] – Kriste Goad
It’s so true. And I used to cover politics way back in the day, and there’s a saying, all politics is local because it is true. That’s just the truth. And I think hopefully people are beginning to get a lot more involved and paying more attention on the local level because of some of the things you’re talking about, some of the things that have been happening. I think media, just because of the state of the industry and then people paying attention, we’ve kind of taken our eye off the ball a little bit, how things are going on around us and how things are happening. Like, wait, how did this happen? But you’re so right. So I love what you’re doing. I love your focus here at home. I’m glad you’re here and I’m so glad to know about Tennbeat. I’m going to be following you.
[00:37:36.290] – Kathryn Rickmeyer
Thank you so much for having me.
[00:37:38.660] – Kriste Goad
This has been awesome. I loved every minute of it.
[00:37:41.480] – Kathryn Rickmeyer
Yeah, I’m so humbled and thank you so much. And it’s also nice to talk to a former reporter and a PR expert who gets it from both sides and a fellow Tennessean. It’s really important and I think stories are meant to be told and meant to be shared and be taken with a lot of care.
[00:38:02.270] – Kriste Goad
Absolutely. I agree. Before we sign off, will you please share with listeners where can they find Tennbeat and how can they get in touch with you?
[00:38:12.170] – Kathryn Rickmeyer
Tennbeat.com it’s T-E-N-N beat. B-E-A-T just like it sounds. Tennbeat.com. So you can subscribe it’s free to subscribe. Expect one story a week. And you can also follow Tennbeat on LinkedIn or connect with me on LinkedIn. I’m also always posting about that, and then if you have a story idea, shoot me an email. And it is just my first and last name, Kathrynrickmeyer@gmail.com.
[00:38:39.960] – Kriste Goad
Awesome. We’re going to include all of this in our show notes and when we publish this, we’ll have links to everything, so make it easy for people. So thank you very much. That wraps up this episode of how it’s done. My guest today has been Kathryn Rickmeyer, journalist and founder of the online statewide news outlet Tennbeat, which, again, you can read for free at Tennbeat.com. Thank you so much, Kathryn. I’ve loved having you on the show.
[00:39:11.970] – Kathryn Rickmeyer
[00:39:12.910] – Kriste Goad
That’s it for now. Thanks so much for listening. We’re looking forward to keeping great conversations coming your way as we grow this podcast, there’s even more great content from our conversations on our blog. Be sure to check it out at growwithfuoco.com. That’s growwithfuoco.com. Stay tuned until next time, and no matter what, stay curious.
More From The How It's Done Podcast
Want to be a guest on a future episode?
Share your thoughts directly with our show host, Kriste Goad.