Meet the Journalists: Gary Robbins, San Diego Union-Tribune

Below are summary points from the interview with Gary Robbins, science and higher education writer at the San Diego Union-Tribune. Originally from Maine, Robbins has been a reporter for 42 years.

What do you newspaper deadlines look like?

  • Newspaper deadlines are typically 4:30 p.m (front page story deadline is 8 or 9 p.m.)
  • Online has neverending deadlines

What are some tips for pitching a story?

  • Avoid the "ego release." Instead, get to the newsworthy point quickly in the headline and first paragraph.
  • Don't use marketing slogans of the university or speak in an overly positive tone; just be genuine.

What are some tips for being interviewed?

  • Be candid and conversational. Avoid jargon.
  • Don't dumb down answers. Use language everyone can understand.
  • Gary will often meet with people without the expectation of a story because he wants to get to know the scientist or the professor just as an individual. Doing this provides a better sense of what they can talk about, or whether they would be stepping out of their lane on something.

What makes local news important?

  • You're part of the community here. You want to educate and inform your neighbor.
  • USD is a pillar of the county, so it's important for people to know what you're working on and doing.

The University of San Diego Media Relations team presents Meet the Journalists, a series of video interviews for USD professors and administrators to gain better insight into the media. Hear from journalists, reporters, editors and producers who cover higher education or rely on faculty experts to provide context to news stories. Watch all eight videos on the Media Relations website.

Begin quote I don't want anyone to ever dumb anything down... I need you to get to the point in a clear and evocative way so it sticks with people.