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News

LAist Interview: Eric Schwartzman

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It’s easy to forget how many Angelenos influence what we read, consume and think. For every telegenic actor accepting an award or CEO discussing his latest stock offering with a journalist, there is a phalanx of publicity professionals and marketing specialists choreographing the entire event.

Eric Schwartzman is one of these behind- the-scenes maestros who are so adept at making the general public aware of the latest person, place or thing. After honing his skills at the legendary PR firm Rogers & Cowan, he established his own boutique agency, Scwartzman & Associates, Inc., in 1999. 1999 proved an auspicious moment, as Internet technology expanded and Eric became one of the few senior-level public relations professionals to realize the potential of new media and technology as a tool for corporate communications and promotion. He went on to foundiPressroom.com, which provides communications software tools and services to public relations professionals.

Eric shares his thoughts on the PR game from his blog, Spinfluencer. He also hosts "On the Record...Online," a weekly podcast, of audio discussions with media professionals about how information technology is changing the news media and entertainment businesses.

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How long have you lived in Los Angeles, and which neighborhood do you live in?
I was born and raised in Los Angeles. I live in Santa Monica.

Why do you live in Los Angeles?
I live in Los Angeles because it’s home. I know it. I love it. It’s my town.

Why did you start the "Spinfluencer" blog? How is it different from the Internet PR News blog on ipressroom?
I started the Spinfluencer blog for a number of reasons. First, to draw a more qualified audience to my corporate websites SchwartzmanPR.com and iPressroom.com. If someone clicks through the blog to either of my sites, I know they’re a prospective client, since I blog about issues that would be of professional interest to people in my trade. But I also use the blog to remember things I’ve learned and to help my crystallize my thoughts, since writing is a great way to clarify ideas and opinions.

How do PR professionals relate to blogs and new technology? How should practitioners relate to new media?
The PR Trade has been quite responsive to the use of blogs for communications. But our clients have been slower to respond. Only handfuls of companies are currently using blogs to get their message out. My feeling is new media represents a huge opportunity for marketers who can think beyond the press release and create compelling content that is desirable to their key audiences.

What blogs do you read?
http://blog.holtz.com/
http://www.nevillehobson.com/
http://pop-pr.blogspot.com/
http://ringblog.typepad.com/corporatepr/

How has PR in Los Angeles changed in the last 3 years?
More firms are chasing less business. Media relations has become tougher, since there are fewer news outlets to pitch due to mergers and consolidation, and fewer print publishers, due to the consumer generated media revolution.

What trends in communication do you see for LA PR professionals in the next 5 years?
I think those professionals that don't start adopting new media to communicate directly with audiences will be relegated to the world of special events, but I don't think that's unique to L.A. PR pros.

What's your favorite movie(s) or TV show(s) that are based in/on LA?
The Dog Town movie was pretty cool. And I like the Bill Maher show, which is taped in Los Angeles.

Best LA-themed book(s)?
A Day in the Life of Hollywood

It's 9:30 pm on Thursday. Where are you coming from and where are you going?
I'm with my wife and baby at home.

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If you could live in LA during any era, when would it be?
The 1940s would have been cool, when you could actually afford to buy a house you'd like to live in.

What's your beach of choice?
Maui.

What is the "center" of LA to you?
Hollywood.

If you were forced to live in a neighboring county, which would you choose? Ventura County is a wussy answer.
Jeez I'm not really sure. Maybe San Francisco. I'm a city person so the sticks won't do.

If you could live in any neighborhood or specific house in LA, where/which would you choose?
Santa Monica, where I already am.

Los Angeles is often stereotyped as a hard place to find personal connections and make friends. Do you agree with that assessment? Do find it challenging to make new friends here?
It's definitely tough to meet people in L.A. If I didn't have roots here, I think I'd find it a very lonely place.

Describe your best LA dining experience.
There's so many great places to eat. Check out my recommendations here.

What do you have to say to East Coast supremacists?
New York is the greatest city in the world, but LA's got a better lifestyle.

Do you find the threat of earthquakes preferable to the threat of hurricanes and long winters?
Without a doubt.

Where do you want to be when the Big One hits?
Italy or France.