Corrections or additions?
This article by Kathleen McGinn Spring was prepared for the February 26, 2003 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
How to Get Your Story Out
Susan Young, principal in East Brunswick-based
Susan Young Media, says "countless businesses and non-profits
tell me that they are the `best kept secret.’ My immediate response
is that you don’t want to be a secret! It’s perfectly acceptable
and okay to flaunt and promote your organization, projects, staff,
clients and talents." A former newsperson herself, Young urges
clients to use print, radio and television news as the vehicle to
accomplish this. She says that getting ink can be the turning point
for a company or a non-profit. What’s more, the free publicity can
be had without draining a budget.
Young speaks on "How to Leverage the Media: The Nuts and Bolts
of News and Free Press" at a half-day event on Thursday, February
27, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Clark. Cost: $295. Register at www.sueyoungmedia.com
or call 732-613-4790.
Before starting up her agency, Young, a graduate of Quinnipiac University,
worked as a stringer for ABC News and for the Associated Press. She
also spent time as a radio anchor, a news director, and a member of
Christie Whitman’s office of radio and television. She says that knowing
how news decisions are made and what reporters are looking for when
covering stories are the keys to increasing an organization’s name
recognition, mission, membership, and profile.
She says the overriding question of any reporter or editor who receives
a press release is "`Why should I cover this; who cares?’" It
is essential to answer this question and to overcome objections. Newsrooms
receive dozens and dozens of faxes, E-mails and telephone calls every
day from people pitching "important" news and "great"
story ideas. It is up to reporters and editors to decide what is news. Remember
this each and every time in drafting a press release, she says, and
weed out the stories that may not be newsworthy. Think in terms of
how the story affects the general public.
Here are Young’s tips, tricks, and techniques for helping for leveraging
the decision makers in newsrooms.
When writing a press release or calling a reporter or newsroom to
pitch your story, you have to be able to express yourself with a
clear, concise, and targeted message. A press release should always
be one page (if it’s well written, this should not be a problem).
"As a former reporter and news director," she says, "the
cardinal sin in my book is a press release with a staple. Throw out
your stapler and fine-tune your writing. Each and every word and sentence
should be critical to your release. If your words don’t add anything
to your story, then they should not be included. Choose your words
carefully and creatively. Even the most complicated issue, legislation,
merger, grant or program can be articulated in one page.
stories. Develop the art of personalizing, packaging, and framing
your story with the right elements. Print and T.V. need visuals and
action; radio needs a voice and audio. If you’re pitching a story
about a company expansion or a new program that your organization
has developed, find a person whose life has been touched by your news.
Arrange for the reporter to visit the program in action. Comments
from the boss or executive director of your agency may be good, but
reporters almost always prefer to speak to people who have actually
experienced something. The key here is the emotional and human angle
of your story, not the administrative or operational end of it.
and appreciate others who are helpful, whether it’s on the job or
at home. We typically shovel the snow from a neighbor’s walk or drive
her child to school if we don’t have some kind of relationship with
the her. Reporters especially need and appreciate "help" because
they are often swamped with possible stories and related tasks. Make
it easy for them to say yes to your story. Leave nothing to chance
— mail, fax, E-mail with attachment, text in E-mail window, or
some other way. Small details make a difference.
Pitching clear stories that are concise and have the necessary elements,
and helping reporters to get their job done, are key ways for you
to cultivate relationships with the media and get the "free press"
that businesses and non-profits need to survive. When you master this,
it’s a win-win.
On Thursday, February 27, at 5:30 p.m., and again at
7 p.m., Rutgers holds open houses for its off-site MBA program at
the Westin Hotel in Princeton. Classes are held in Hopewell, and students
may earn up to 18 credits toward an MBA at that location. In addition,
Ph.D.s may receive 12 credits of elective course work and CPAs may
receive 3 credits for the core course in accounting.
Designed for area residents who are working full time, the program
has been holding classes in Hopewell since 1994. For more information
Private sector companies have buttoned up their purses,
especially where technology purchases are involved. The private sector
spending drought adds allure to government contracts. Yet, says tech
more difficult than it was just a few years ago.
"It’s brutal out there, just brutal," says Joshi, not once,
but over and over again. His tone is full of empathy as he speaks
of all the "brilliant scientists and engineers who have been laid
off." The telecommunications and semiconductor sectors, in full
retreat, have shed tens of thousands of workers, and among them, he
says, are top-notch Ph.Ds, many of them patent holders with deep experience.
What are these tech stars doing now?
"Starting their own companies," says Joshi. And bidding on
SBIR contracts. The acronym stands for Small Business Innovation Research.
Handed out by many government agencies, the contracts not only provide
fledgling companies — and their experienced brethren — with
cash, but they also can lay the groundwork for the commercialization
that can lead to business with the private sector.
Joshi, founder of West Trenton-based Discovery Semiconductors, has
been winning SBIR contracts since 1993. He speaks on a panel addressing
"SBIR Phase II Proposal Preparation" on Friday, February 28,
at 7:30 a.m. Sponsored by the New Jersey Small Business Development
Center, the event takes place at the Princeton University Friend Center.
Other speakers include
of the Greenwood Consulting Group,
Small Business Development Center, and
Jumpstart. Cost: $90. Call 800-432-2832.
Joshi, who holds an MSEE from the New Jersey Institute of Technology,
worked at Epitaxx before it was purchased by J.D. Uniphase. There,
under the tutelage of Greg Olsen, who is now the president of Sensors
Unlimited, he learned how to write SBIR applications. He had always
wanted to go out on his own, and when he left Epitaxx in the summer
of 1993, the first thing he did was submit several applications for
Even though he had experience with the process, he felt he had to
"close the missing links" in his knowledge. He did so by attending
workshops run by the New Jersey Commission of Science and Technology.
He also sought advice from Randy Harmon. "I took notes diligently,"
he recalls. "I followed them carefully."
He submitted three proposals — two to NASA and one to the National
Science Foundation. One, a project for NASA Goddard, was accepted.
"Discovery Semiconductor was launched," says Joshi.
SBIR Phase I contracts pay up to $100,000 and extend over six months.
They provide the funding through which a company can show proof of
concept for its technology. At the end of six months, the company
files a report and request a Phase II contract, which provides up
to $750,000 over two years. "It used to be that one in every eight
to ten Phase I applications were accepted," says Joshi. At the
Phase II level the ratio went down to one in two or three. But the
odds have grown longer.
"In 1993, we were just at the beginning of the tech boom,"
he says. "When I started my company, not too many people started
companies." High-quality competition has blossomed. A modest man,
Joshi says that if he were starting out now, he doesn’t think he would
win any SBIR contracts. "For one thing," he says, "I don’t
have a Ph.D." And this in a market suddenly flooded with downsized
Ph.D.s who believe, Joshi says, that they have little choice but to
try to start a company.
"It was different for me," says Joshi, whose company has grown
to 15 employees. "I was 28. I was scrappy. I had nothing to lose."
He says he had a contingency plan. "What was the worst that could
happen? If I failed I was going to go to California. I had lots of
friends who could get me a job." Silicon Valley was booming. There
were lots of choices. Now those options largely are gone, and Joshi
is glad he added government contracts to his private sector work,
much of it for telecommunications and defense companies.
Over the past 10 years he has won five Phase I and four Phase II contracts,
and has been able to commercialize the technology he developed under
those contracts. The government agency giving the contract retains
limited data rights and user rights, while the company owns the lion’s
share of rights to the technology, and is free to go on and commercialize
While it is more difficult to win an SBIR contract now than it was
three years ago, there are steps entrepreneurs can take to up their
chances. Joshi’s advice includes:
he says. "What are you proposing? The technology you write has
to be top class." In addition, it has to be spelled out in a way
that is clear and compelling. "The reader has to say `that’s a
damn good idea!" exclaims Joshi.
Tech entrepreneurs lacking the writing skills to get make their technology
shine might seek some professional help in polishing up their proposals.
up by experience. The government agencies reviewing the applications
look for credentials and for experience. On one occasion, says Joshi,
"we worked with a rising star in material science at MIT."
Seeking a partner like this is a way for those without stellar education
credentials or a track record of success to win a contract. Joshi’s
company, having delivered on a number of contracts and sold technology
to the private sector, now has a solid track record. Entrepreneurs
who are just starting out might consider a partnering arrangement.
in the SBIR program are interested in obtaining technology for their
own use, but even more than that, says Joshi, they want to encourage
commercialization. Toward this end, they look for solid business and
This is an area where many entrepreneurs, who often lack business
acumen, may need some outside help. It is important to be able to
point to potential customers and to lay out a plan for reaching them.
at a time, but that they don’t go overboard. Different agencies close
their contract cycles at different times, and similar proposals can
be submitted to different agencies. "You have to focus on a few,
and do them right," says Joshi. "You can’t have 20 proposals
of poor quality. Do three, four, or five in one cycle, and you may
click on one."
The SBIR contract process provides entrepreneurs with a second chance.
If an application is not accepted, the submitter can request a debriefing,
and the agency must honor the request. In the debriefing, the agency
tells the entrepreneur why his proposal wasn’t accepted. This, says
Joshi, provides an opportunity for improving the proposal and re-submitting
Joshi is now married, to
Discovery Semiconductor. The two met before the company was founded.
"There was no office romance," jokes Joshi. No longer a footloose
young hot shot with nothing to lose, he is also the father of two
children, ages four months and three years.
Times could be better, but Joshi’s company, founded on an SBIR contract,
is solid. He says he is glad he began competing for government research
contracts a decade ago, before others recognized how important the
government business could be to launching and sustaining a high-tech
On a morning when snow drifts were keeping his
front office staff from work, Dr. Glen Lederman, an orthopedic chiropractor,
was juggling patients and phone duty. Nevertheless, he took a minute
to talk about the role good sitting plays in snow day preparedness.
"My big speech to patients is to prepare for something like this,"
says Lederman, who practices in Plainsboro. "You don’t condition
your muscles, you sweep some snow off the roof, and ouch!"
Lederman, a graduate of Tulane (Class of 1990) who did his chiropractic
training at Life University in Atlanta, deals with the sudden pain
brought on by, say, shoveling a 50-foot driveway, as well as the stresses
that accumulate little by little in the course of a work routine.
"Human beings are not designed to do the same thing over and over,"
he points out. The majority of his patients, however, are desk jockeys
who do just that. Included in the advice he gives them is the imperative
of setting up a workstation in such a way that it mitigates any long-term
damage from repetitive stress. He also advises a regimen of moving
around — at least a little — during the workday to give muscles
a fighting chance to stay fit enough to tackle the tasks associated
with the occasional blizzard.
Lederman gives his patients a booklet entitled Sitting Fit!, an excerpt
from the book Sitting on the Job by Scott Donkin (available by calling
800-552-6347). The booklet’s advice includes the following:
better to keep your elbows close to your body and your wrists parallel
to the keyboard. By not bending forward, backward, inward, or outward,
you reduce the strain on the wrists and forearm muscles and ensure
better positioning of your upper arms, shoulders, and neck.
your focus to an object far away or by closing your eyes. Your eyes
need frequent vision breaks to minimize strain.
when proper posture and good lighting are in use. The elimination
of reflective glare is also helpful as is the proper arrangement of
work materials and equipment.
the work station to fit your body so that your head is not unnecessarily
tilted or rotated too far. Also periodic breaks to move and exercise
your neck, shoulders, arms, and upper back are essential to counteract
the effects of head tilting.
with your buttocks aimed at where the seat and back rest meet. Adjust
the chair’s seat pan height and back rest to fit the unique contours
of your back and hips, so that you can sit comfortably erect. Use
the back rest while working.
and move during your breaks and take several micro breaks during the
Even a simple break helps. Try leaning back in your chair (after checking
its stability!) and stretching your arms up and your legs out. Wiggle
your fingers and toes. Close your eyes, smile, breathe in deeply and
out slowly. In the minute it takes to perform this micro break, you
released the lock of your visual and mental tasks, stretched away
the muscle tension built up in your buttocks, pelvis, and lower spine,
and refreshed your body with extra oxygen by expanding your rib cage.
You also improved your posture as well as the circulation of blood
through your legs and back to your heart.
in the meantime are warding off painful repetitive stress injuries.
Professional business consultants working through the
Small Business Development Center of the College of New Jersey offer
confidential short and long-term business counseling. To help businesses
get the word out, they are prepared to address marketing strategies,
market plan development, market research and surveys, and strategic
planning. To get the money flowing, the consultants give advice on
business plan development and assessment, loan packages, and public
and private financing.
The consultants work with established business as well as start-ups.
For start-ups, they give advice on establishing trade name and legal
structure, completing federal and state tax registrations, site selection,
and feasiblity analysis. For all companies, the consultants provide
instruction in establishing record keeping systems, preparing financial
statements, and projecting cash flow. For further information call
The New Jersey Restaurant Association hosts a lunch
and afternoon celebration to celebrate Women in Food Service on Monday,
March 3, 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in Trenton. After a boxed lunch at
NJRA headquarters on 126 West State Street, those attending will meet
for a commemorative group photo with legislators, one-on-one meetings,
a session of the General Assembly, and either a tour of the State
House or a visit to the New Jersey State Museum. The day closes with
an authentic British afternoon tea catered by the Ship Inn Restaurant
& Brew Pub, featuring micro-brewed beer, and a Wine Tasting by Fedway
The NJRA represents 21,000 food establishments that generate $450
million in taxes. The restaurant industry employs 200,000 people and
is the largest private sector employer in the state.
The event committee includes
Peach in New Brunswick,
Women in all positions — from owners to sous chefs, general
managers to back of the house employees, will participate. They include
Tigers Tale on Route 206,
of Panico’s in New Brunswick,
director of Soho on George and Old Man Rafferty’s in New Brunswick,
and six women from the Frog and Peach:
Gerry Kirchofer, Shannon Levine, Aime Aucott, and Jeanette Moreno.
A free seminar on changes in New Jersey business tax
laws will be offered on Tuesday, March 4, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the
Hilton Garden Inn in Edison. Following a wine and cheese reception,
Group LLC, discuss how tax law changes will affect the operations
and bottom line of small to medium-sized businesses.
Sponsored by First Savings Bank, the seminar is free by pre-registration
through one of the participating chambers of commerce — Metuchen,
Woodbridge, East Brunswick, Old Bridge, and Perth Amboy. Call Mizrach’s
company, 732-283-9300, for more information.
Venture capitalists covering every stage of investment will speak
on a panel at the Wednesday, March 5 meeting of the New Jersey Entrepreneurial
Network. The meeting is noon to 3 p.m. at the Doral Forrestal. Cost:
$45. CAll 609-279-0010.
Companies that need early stage investment will want to meet
Beste, a partner at the MidAtlantic Venture Fund. The fund is on
the "bleeding edge" of early stage investment and Beste brags
that — as a venture capitalist — he has never had to hold
down a real job.
in companies in the "break out" stage. Edison Ventures takes
pride in the fact that it is one of the few New Jersey-based VC funders
that actually invests in New Jersey companies.
venture investment. He will also cover potential investments from
will tell why investing at his stage is better for both entrepreneurs
The College of New Jersey Small Business Development Center (SBDC)
has a full schedule of business classes for March. Some are free,
some require a fee. Call 609-989-5232.
On Monday, March 3, at 6:30 p.m. in the Westergaard branch of the
Piscataway Public Library,
Start Your Own Successful Business." Mosho’s business is called
New Jersey Biz Wiz, and this workshop is free. He repeats that class
on Thursday, March 6, at 7 p.m. at the East Brunswick Public Library,
and on Saturday, March 8, at the Trenton Public Library. Mosho brings
the free workshop to the Plainsboro Public Library on Tuesday, March
18, at 7 p.m., and to the Princeton Public Library on Wednesday, March
As for paid sessions, Mosho teaches one called "Are You an Entrepreneur?"
on Wednesday, March 5, at 6 p.m. at the College of New Jersey. Cost:
Sales, Sales = Money, Money, Money" on Wednesday, March 5, at
1 p.m. at the College of New Jersey. Cost: $45.00
sales on Monday, March 10, at 6 p.m. at the College of New Jersey.
Cost: $85. A dozen more workshops are set for March.
The SBDC is also partnering with the Greater Mercer County Chamber
of Commerce and the Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce for a series
called "The CEO Tool Box," to be held on the fourth Tuesdays
of each month at 8 a.m. at Panera Bread Bakery and Cafe, Nassau. Cost:
$20 per session. Call 609-989-5232.
companies can leverage existing accounts to maximize their networks.
His title: "Connecting Right to Compound Your Success." On
will discuss targeting new markets with "Looking For Markets
in All the Wrong Places." Sales booster
of Paradigm Associates, will help refine sales technique on May 27
with "Recharging Your Sales Tactics," while Radziewicz brings
home the money on June 24 with "Building Your Access to Other
The New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants offers a free
online tax guide at www.njscpa.org/finances/taxguide.cfm, complete
with tax rates, answers to tax questions, and tax forms that can be downloaded.
The site also links to the Internal Revenue and New Jersey Division
The same organization also offers a free "Find a CPA" service,
so you can look for a tax advisor based on firm size, location, and
other criteria — including languages spoken. CPAs are available
who speak Japanese, Hindi, Hebrew, and Portugese, for instance. Go
Free assistance may be available to those who have recently been through
some sort of family tragedy. This service was set up after September
11, but the volunteers decided to make it an ongoing program. Varied
circumstances can qualify a family for assistance. Call 973-226-4494
or go to the website to request help.
The New Jersey Library for the Blind and Handicapped will introduce
"Internet Streaming for Audiovision" at a celebration on Monday,
March 3, at 2 p.m., at 2300 Stuyvesant Avenue, Ewing. The new radio
information service for the blind provides detailed access to state
and local news for those people with a print disability. New Jersey
Network has significantly helped to introduce this service.
Also to be celebrated are the kick off for the "Take a Talking
Book" campaign, for senior adults who can no longer see to read,
or who are physically unable to hold a book. The day will also note
the anniversary of the Pratt-Smoot Act, passed in 1931. This legislation
established free library services for the blind nationwide and set
up the Talking Book program. A proclamation from the governor will
be read. For information call 609-530-3242 or write CN 501, Trenton
This year’s New Jersey Conference on Volunteerism will focus on disaster
preparedness and response. Entitled "Let’s Roll," it is set
for Friday and Saturday, April 4 and 5, at the Atlantic City Convention
Center. The Governor’s Volunteer Awards will be given on Saturday.
For information call 800-286-6528 or go to www.njvolunteerism.com
campus of Mercer County Community College, is now open. During the
facility’s February 20 ribbon cutting ceremony, one of its meeting
rooms was dedicated to
services company’s generosity to the school.
donor, while a third room honors long-time supporter
of Faridy Veisz Fraytak Architects.
The conference center, which already has bookings for over 200 conferences,
meetings, and training sessions, offers webcasting, satellite teleconferencing,
and global videoconferencing. Its tiered auditorium seats 219 people
and is equipped with individual laptop ports.
magazines, and 50 paperback books as part of project "Enduring
The purpose of the donation is the support of America’s military personnel
serving away from home.
are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to all New Jersey residents
eligible for the services provided by the New Jersey Library for the
Blind and Handicapped.
Newspaper excerpts and special interest programs are broadcast over
closed-circuit radio through the efforts of 85 volunteers. Publications
included in the program include the New York Times, the Times of Trenton,
and the Philadelphia Inquirer.
For more information call 800-792-8322.
sponsor the third annual Nonprofit Management Certificate, which is
supported by a grant from
from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. for 10 weeks at the College of New Jersey.
The enrollment fee for the program is $1,000 and scholarships will
be awarded to community development qualified organizations.
Those are organizations which provide affordable housing or community
services for low or moderate income individuals.
They also undertake activities that revitalize or stabilize low or
moderate income geographies, or promote economic development by financing
businesses or farms that meet the size eligibility standards of the
Small Business Administration’s Development Company or Small Business
Investment Company programs or have gross annual revenues of $1 million
Applications must be received by Friday, March 7, and should be sent
to Rajib Sanyal of the College of New Jersey at 609-771-3050.
that nominations are being accepted for the 53rd Annual Outstanding
Citizen of the Year and the 8th Annual Quality of Life Awards.
The awards are given for exemplary volunteer efforts demonstrating
creativity, vision, leadership, and citizenship by providing service
to programs and activities that positively affect the welfare of the
The former award is bestowed up an individual and the latter award
on an organization.
Among the criteria for the award are: service should have affected
the welfare of the community; individuals should be cited for activities
outside normal employment responsibilities; activities should have
been performed during the past year, but may be cumulative from prior
Nominees do not have to be Somerset County Business Partnership members
or investors; previous recipients are eligible for activities other
than those for which the prior award was given.
Nominations may be completed online at www.SomersetBusinessPartneship.com
or may be obtained by calling 908-725-1552. The deadline for nominations
is Friday, February 28.
Corrections or additions?
This page is published by PrincetonInfo.com
— the web site for U.S. 1 Newspaper in Princeton, New Jersey.