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Sam Roberts Sam Roberts

Urban Affairs Correspondent

The New York Times


What I do: I get paid to satisfy my curiosity about goings on in New York.


How I got here: I graduated from Cornell University with a government degree, worked as reporter/editor/columnist at the New York Daily News and then The New York Times. I also host The New York Times Close Up weekend television interview program on NY1 News.


What stories I consider: Quirky, contrarian, unexpected takes on things that we think we already know about. Turning history into news. Why things happen and why they don't. Who wields power in New York and how and to what end.


What makes a story: Something readers never knew before or thought they knew and, after reading, say they never thought about it that way before.


How to contact me/The Times: My email address is 


Are You Making a Good Impression?


Whether you are meeting with a potential donor, attending a City Council meeting or hosting a "friendraiser," you will need to leave behind print materials about your organization. Do your materials make a good first impression?

Anat coined these five quick tips to help you develop successful marketing materials.

"The Five Cs" of Effective Marketing Materials

  1. Clean - in design.
  2. Clear - about your message.
  3. Compelling - in the story.
  4. Current - in content.
  5. Consistent - in look and feel.

No matter how small your organization, you can incorporate "The Five Cs" with success. Anat shared information about creating a good impression at a recent NPCC workshop. Email her if you would like a copy of the presentation. 

Issue: 15  August 2013



Being in the office at the end of the summer has its ups and downs.  The upside is that it's often a little quieter, giving you an opportunity to focus on some projects you may not have had time to tackle earlier in the year.


Below we have some suggestions on making a good first impression with your materials and on ways to generate positive press during the dogs days of summer.


We do hope you get a chance to enjoy at least some of the remaining days of summer.

All the best,

The Anat Gerstein, Inc. team

Get the Most (Press) out of the Rest of Summer


Summer is a challenging time to pitch a story: the colleagues you rely upon for information and ideas might be away and newsroom staff are on vacation.


Don't throw in the towel. Use this time to your advantage.

  • Put on a reporter's cap and scope out unique and interesting stories. Meet with staff you don't regularly talk to - see if they are working on anything that might be worth pitching to the press.
  • Think small. Look for personal stories from the unheralded folks who make your place tick. Local outlets like the New York Daily News and NY1 News love good human interest pieces.
  • Clean up your media lists. Select a few reporters and meet them for coffee to update them on your industry and brainstorm ideas.

How does Anat Gerstein, Inc. avoid a summer story drought?


Example 1:

We represent WHEDco, a great nonprofit based in The Bronx. They had a dormant campaign to raise money to build a greenhouse and expand their urban farming program. Our intrepid Zac Roy worked with WHEDco to revive their crowdfunding campaign. He arranged for New York 1 to deliver live reports from atop WHEDco's Intervale Green building.


Within hours, the campaign exceeded its fundraising goal. (Watch the video here.)


What drove that success?


When we spend considerable time with the stellar team at WHEDco, we have the opportunity to learn about their many initiatives, including this one. Zac recognized that NY 1 News always seeks light - but relevant - features in the morning, so he reached out to their Bronx reporter.


Example 2:

Earlier this year, the Museum of the City of New York launched an exhibition containing a fully-built 325-square-foot micro-unit apartment (if you haven't seen it, go now because it closes in early September!). The launch generated a great deal of publicity, both local and national, and throngs of new visitors to the Upper East Side institution.


Yet, after the surge of attention around the launch, media coverage understandably declined and so did attendance.


Charged with reinvigorating interest, we developed a series of events that would draw media attention (and hopefully a crowd). These ideas included short, in-exhibition workshops on cooking in small spaces and organizing small spaces. We then took the concept a step further, inviting people to sleep in the micro-unit.


As of this writing, Taxi TV, Newsday, and a series of blogs have covered the events. We expect NY 1 News and New York Times coverage later this week.


Curbed NY stayed overnight and live-blogged, engaging with New Yorkers all over the city about the experience. Others will be living in the unit through Monday. Stop by if you are curious and want to talk to them about their experiences. 

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