News & Highlights

From Nardi Media

NARDI’S NEWSTIPS VOLUME ONE: A Conversation With Network TV Producer Beth Sullivan

SAMSUNG CSCI am thrilled to announce a new monthly series on the blog where we interview a member of the press about his/her job, the constant changing face of the news media, media trends, what it takes to get placed in the media, and much more. I have a deep passion for connecting experts, authors, academia, entrepreneurs, influencers, and change makers with members of the press (it’s why I do what I do), and part of that is making sure everyone has a clear understanding of how the news media works, and how it is changing.

Hence, the birth of Nardi’s Newstips!

I was delighted when my dear friend Beth Sullivan agreed to be featured as our first journalist in our inaugural series.  Beth is a freelance TV producer who has worked for both local and cable news outlets.

I always love hearing where fellow news journalists get their own news, and how they have personally seen news changes over the years. I know you’ll find great value in Beth’s insights!

NM: What are the ingredients to a perfect pitch?

BETH: One of the most important things is to tailor a pitch to a show’s format. If the show’s interviews only run about 3 minutes, it’s important to boil down the essence of the pitch into a few sentences, to show the booker it’s a story that can be told in a short interview format.

NM: What are your favorite types of stories and/or topics to cover?

BETH: I always love something with a “surprising” fact, or something that goes against a stereotype. Ashley sent me a great pitch about how charitable giving was on the rise, and that millennials were the most generous. I enjoyed how the study countered the “selfish millennial” label.

NM: What has been your favorite or most memorable story to produce in your journalism career?

BETH: I don’t have a particular story, but I got my start as a booker for a cable morning show and it was a blast! Morning show staffs work odd hours and long days but I had so much fun and learned a lot along the way.    

NM: What do you love most about your job?

BETH: The people! I’ve had the pleasure working with amazing journalists. I have met some of the most brilliant and funny people in this industry. When you work long hours and holidays together, it makes you even more grateful for the one who make you laugh.

NM: What does it take for someone to get booked as an expert on TV?

BETH: My favorite experts are the ones who can take a complicated issue and explain it in a few sentences.

NM: What do you wish the general public had a better understanding about the news business and how it works?

BETH: I wish there was a better understanding of how tight our deadlines can be.  Often when I’m looking for a guest, it’s for an interview that day.  I once had a guest say she “needed a day to think about it” when I reached out. It was a day-of story, so we ended up interviewing someone else.  

NM: What factors go into deciding whether or not you'd like to book a guest?

BETH:My first concern is whether someone is comfortable on camera, so I try to find clips of the guest. If there aren’t any web videos of past TV appearances, I’ll scan YouTube for clips of the guest speaking in promotional videos or at events.  Another thing I look for is location. I know it can seem like a silly logistical concern, but having a guest near a bureau or satellite studio is a big help, especially in breaking news scenarios.

NM: Where do you get your news?

BETH: I get my news from traditional online sources, but I also read through the comments section of trending stories. Although there are some off-topic and unsavory comments, every now and then you’ll see a comment of “why isn’t the media talking about ___”  or “something like this happened in my school/town/industry” and I find that it’s a great way to see the story from a different angle, or get perspective on a trending issue.  

NM: How have you seen the news business change in the last five years? Where do you think it is headed?

BETH: I know this seems like an obvious one, but social media has become a big part in breaking news. Sometimes the first photos of a breaking news event are from a Twitter account. Social media can be a great tool for getting updates, but I still think sometimes the best way to get the story is by picking up the phone.

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Tracy Mccubbin

AUTHOR, MAKING SPACE, CLUTTER FREE

"The biggest piece of advice a first-time author is given is to “hire your own publicist,” but what they don’t tell you is to “hire your own Ashley.”  Looking back, I don’t know how I could have released my book without Ashley & her team.  We started working together before the book was published.  First local TV and small blogs and as I got more seasoned and the book got closer to coming, she booked me appearances on bigger and bigger outlets. 

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Susan Peirce Thompson, Ph.D.

New York Times Best Selling Author of Bright Line Eating: The Science of Living Happy, Thin, and Free

"The biggest piece of advice a first-time author is given is to “hire your own publicist,” but what they don’t tell you is to “hire your own Ashley.”  Looking back, I don’t know how I could have released my book without Ashley & her team.  We started working together before the book was published.  First local TV and small blogs and as I got more seasoned and the book got closer to coming, she booked me appearances on bigger and bigger outlets. 

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Susan McGinnis

Correspondent, CBS Newspath

“I am so pleased that Ashley is embarking on this new venture. For many years she has shined as an outstanding booker and producer at CBS News and at start-ups including Clean Skies News.  She was my first hire at Clean Skies, and was the shining star among the pack. She has always had  tremendous dedication to her work, and an untiring ability to accomplish whatever faces her, letting no obstacle stand in the way of an outstanding product.  She consistently goes above and beyond expectations, and never takes “no” as an answer, and never settles for less than outstanding. I would hire Ashley again. And again. And again.”

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Jennifer Oko

Partner, Mad Squid Media

“Ashley and I have worked together is a few different capacities, including CBS News, energyNOW!. I cannot say enough good things about her. Ashley is smart, thorough, quick, creative, and incredibly hard working. Most importantly, to be a successful media liaison and guest booker, relationships are everything. Ashley is a genuinely lovely person, and she wins the respect and trust of everyone she works with. She is the first person I call whenever I need a guest booker or segment producer.”

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Margaret Ryan

Energy Journalist & Analyst

“Ashley Bernardi is a dynamic professional who consistently produces excellent results.  In my three years working with Ashley as the head booker at Clean Skies News/EnergyNOW!, I never saw her fail to complete a job she had been assigned – and complete it admirably. Ashley is creative, energetic and goal-oriented, a true team player who works congenially with other professionals but can also be relied on to execute an assignment on her own. Ashley is the person I wanted on my team when I faced a challenging assignment!”

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Hardy Spire

Senior Producer, CNN’s Reliable Sources. Former General Manager at CleanSkies News and Senior Producer at CBS News.

“Ashley Bernardi has every rare quality in a TV producer — aggressiveness, insight, creativity, a strong work ethic, and pure charm.  She has all this plus she’s a kind and positive person.  And she has great contacts!”

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Silvio Marcacci

Principal, Marcacci Communications

“Ashley is hands down the best media trainer I’ve ever worked with, and she uses her considerable producing experience to make clients feel at ease and ready to learn. In addition, her ability to book clients on television and radio interviews is quite impressive – be ready for hours of interviews if you’re working with her!”

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Mary Jordan

Washington Post National Correspondent and Founding Editor of Washington Post Live

“There is nothing Ashley Bernardi cannot do when it comes to media.  She books top people for TV shows and national conferences and knows the business inside out. I worked closely with Ashley at the Washington Post  and she is not only savvy, but great to be around. She is the always cheerful, smart voice on the other end of the phone who persuades busy people to drop everything they are doing and do what Ashley tells them.”

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Scott Behson, PhD

best-selling author of The Working Dad’s Survival Guide: How to Succeed at Work and at Home

“I was a relatively unknown first-time author and Ashley was fantastic in getting my name out there, and ultimately booking me on national TV and radio, as well as major podcasts. She also provided top-notch media training and was always a great listener and advisor. Finally, she was on top of everything and we communicated constantly. I couldn’t have been happier about her efforts on behalf of my book launch!”

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Ron Friedman, Ph.D

author of The Best Place to Work: The Art and Science of Creating an Extraordinary Workplace

“Ashley Bernardi is extraordinary at her job in every way. Smart, strategic and relentlessly energetic, Ashley is someone I’d want on my team in any public relations campaign.”