Pressing the Press: Meet Alex Williams, SiliconAngle

By Daniella Klopocki (@bellatweetz)

Alex Williams has been a high-profile media contact for my clients since I first joined SHIFT. While most of you know him from his days at ReadWriteWeb, he’s at a new gig and loving his editor role at SiliconAngle. I’ve worked with Alex before and saw this as the perfect opportunity to congratulate him on his new job as well as get to know the man whose name has been posted on my desk (on coveted media contacts list) for almost a year.

Below you’ll find bits of our phone conversation that will not only give you a glimpse into what he’s working on now, but also an idea of how he’s combining his love for sports with the technology he’s passionate about.

Twitter handle: @alexwilliams

Alex Williams, SilconAngleHow did you get into journalism?

When I was in college—back in the mid ‘80s—I spent a year in France studying. While I was there I also had the opportunity to play baseball for a French team. We ended up playing all over Europe.  My buddy and I wrote about it and tried to sell the story to the New York Times, which didn’t exactly pan out but it really sparked my interest in writing. Back in America, I started writing about the University of Denver soccer team which evolved into covering sports. From there I applied to Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and off I went into the world of newspaper reporting.   

Why tech specifically?

When I started in journalism we wrote at work stations and there was a PC at the first job I had—it was a luxury (we even had a modem!). It was around 1994 when I started looking at what else I could do as a journalist. A friend of mine was  involved in the Woodstock ‘94 concert and developed an “experience” at the event where he created 3D virtual reality rides—it was cutting-edge stuff back then. As a result he got a bunch of tech companies (including Apple) to come and asked if I would be the reporter on-the-ground with Apple. We recorded video footage and edited it, digitizing it for the jumbotron. At the time, they called it a “digital newspaper.” After that I started working for AOL and helped them develop their news portal. That was where I got started in the tech world.

As an editor at SiliconAngle, what are your main responsibilities?

I launched ServicesAngle recently. We’re also looking to build up and launch a series of different vertical initiatives too.

What was one of your favorite stories that you’ve worked on?    

I did a profile on CSC and I enjoyed it because it gave me a deeper view into the services solutions world from the perspective of a company that been providing traditional solutions for a long time. Now they’re becoming a services provider in a more modern sense by offering cloud services, and they’re teaming with VMware. I like the cloud story from the managed services perspective. I covered the VMware launch of their latest iteration on their virtualization technology. That was especially fun because we do a lot of video. We did this post-event roundup that was basically commentating the event. Our primary goal is to do in-depth coverage of the technology market. We see theCube as being like the ESPN of Tech news, on the ground covering technology companies through our video coverage

What do you want PR professionals to know?

We’re really hungry to cover news. Reach out to us. I’m interested in stories with cloud services angles. I’m also interested in new technologies that are meeting legacy technologies.

What are your main “pet peeves” when working with PR people?

There are a number of things…

–          Asking for a briefing without telling me what it’s about. That’s really frustrating. Our time is so limited, so tell me as much as possible!

–          ALL CAPS in the title is annoying.

–          Cold-calling.

–          Assuming in the pitch that I’ll cover the news. This is especially bad if the pitch is salesy. Example: “We look forward to talking with you on [date].”

What do you think about pitching over social media? Love it or hate it?

You may want to say “@alexwilliams saw you were tweeting about [this], here’s another angle on it….” That’s alright, but it all comes down to context. Occasionally I get DMs—in that case it’s better that I know you or else that’s awkward. If I get to know you it changes the whole story.

What are your hobbies and interests when you’re not at work?

I’m a classic guy whose kids are growing. My son is 15 years old and my daughter is 17 years old. As for my hobbies, they consist of what I can fit in my schedule. To get some exercise, I ride my bike. I actually got rid of my car for about five years. I also enjoy cooking and going to the movies.

Alex also shared that he’d like to visit Poland—his wife is Polish. That about did it for me!

Dziękuję (thank you) for the great call Alex!

1 Response to “Pressing the Press: Meet Alex Williams, SiliconAngle”

  1. 1 business process outsourcing February 7, 2013 at 11:27 am

    You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this matter to be actually something
    that I think I would never understand. It seems too complex and very broad for me.
    I am looking forward for your next post, I’ll try to get the hang of it!

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