If you’ve been working in the Bay Area as a PR or marketing person for the last five years or so, you might have come across the name Annie Gaus. I first heard about Annie when she was at the San Francisco Business Times as the tech reporter a few years back and have been following her journalism ever since. I’ve personally been impressed by the evolution of her stories – she’s gone from covering mostly announcements at local tech companies to now weighing in on diverse topics and issues that matter in the market today, as well as the impact of our relationship and future with technology.
Now reporting for financial and business news publication, TheStreet, Annie shared with us what makes her tick, how to best work with her and an overall glimpse into her world as a journalist.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a reporter and columnist based in San Francisco. I write about tech stocks, but also have a background in reporting on consumer technology, local business, and as a features writer — primarily related to the tech industry. I started out my career as a video reporter and also had an early stint as a comedy writer.
What types of stories, trends or issues are on your radar today?
My current beat is market-focused, but besides that, my coverage is pretty broad in terms of the types of tech I write about. In the course of a week I can pivot from writing about what’s new in the gaming space, to the latest Facebook privacy fiasco, to a ride-hailing IPO. For that reason, I’m always trying to understand the bigger, overarching trends that are driving some of the changes in tech.
Right now, in my view, some of those bigger issues are data privacy and antitrust issues, in addition to technological advancements like AI. I cover large-cap tech stocks with a focus on the FAANG names, so if it’s relevant to those names, it’s potentially fair game.
What makes a good story hook for you?
I’m interested in competitions and rivalries, especially among the large-cap tech stocks that I cover. I’m also always down for fresh sources who can comment on trends impacting those stocks.
What are you looking for from subject-matter experts / thought leaders? How can they best work with you to help inform your stories?
Be honest and insightful (earth shattering, I know), and have real expertise — proprietary research, investment knowledge, etc. I write on very tight deadlines most of the time; it’s unusual when I have more than a day to work on a piece. So, it’s always much appreciated when someone can get on the horn or by email on short notice, even if it’s just for a 2min phone call or a bit of written commentary. Alternatively, around big tentpole events like earnings or big product releases, people can reach out in advance and we can make a plan to connect.
You have experience covering tech broadly. Could you give us a snapshot of how the industry has changed/evolved, or stayed the same?
Probably the biggest trend, in terms of my beat, is that everyone was really excited about unicorns around 2015 or so. When I worked at the SF Business Times, we probably had a dozen unicorn pictures in the CMS. Fast forward 4 years (and now that a lot of these companies are going public), $1 billion is small potatoes.
What is your dream assignment?
This is probably the most basic business reporter answer ever, but I’d love to cover Davos. It’d be fascinating to watch the nuances of how powerful people interact with one another in that context.
What advice do you have for PR folks who want to pitch you?
Do take the time to look up my work and get a general sense of what I write about before reaching out. I’d never begrudge a thoughtful pitch that doesn’t work for me — but I do get lots that have nothing to do with my beat, when 5 seconds of Googling would make it clear that it’s not a fit for me. It’s a bummer that good pitches sometimes get buried in the pitches for a blockchain-based pet grooming app or something like that. A personal touch goes a long way — not anything forced but demonstrating that you understand what I might be looking for.