Speaking to MediaSpeaking to Media: Barry Choi, freelance columnist at The Globe and Mail

Speaking to Media: Barry Choi, freelance columnist at The Globe and Mail

Next up in our Speaking to Media series is Barry Choi, freelance columnist at The Globe and Mail. From personal finance tips to navigating the world of millennial and Gen Z money and the ins and outs of credit cards Barry will have it covered. As a self-taught investor, Barry helps make money easy to understand for Canadians.

What inspired you to start a career in writing?

My first job out of college was at a major TV news station in Toronto. Although I worked behind the camera, my direct colleagues were writers and broadcasters. Even though I hadn’t directly studied journalism, being exposed to professionals allowed me to learn from some broadcast legends. When I decided I needed to change careers for a better work/life balance, I realized writing would be the easiest way out. Fortunately, the transition has been mostly smooth.

How do you choose what topics to cover each month for your column in the Globe Investor? Do you have any favourite topics you love to dive into?

I was brought on to write specifically about loyalty programs. Generally, I try to write about what’s topical. For example, if there’s been a major change in loyalty space or a big announcement. That said, I also consider topics people are talking about and try to blend it with loyalty. Those subjects could be anything from the rising cost of groceries to how to reduce the cost of travel.

Keeping finance topics engaging can be tough. How do you keep your writing interesting while discussing credit cards and personal finance?

According to a study by Statistics Canada in 2019, 93% of Canadians aged 18+ have a credit card. Making things engaging about credit cards may sound challenging, but since it affects so many people, there’s always information to be shared. Most people don’t know the ins and outs of their credit cards and loyalty points, so it’s my job to write about things that affect them. The same thing applies to personal finance. We’re all on individual journeys, but there are topics that affect all of us. 

What advice do you have for PR professionals to grab attention with a pitch? 

Focus on building your relationship with the reporter. That could be simply getting to know what they write about or just having casual conversations with them to connect with them as a person. We get dozens of press releases and pitches each day, so seeing a friendly name in our inboxes will at least guarantee a read.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers? 

It’s important to understand that there are different jobs that require good writers. Not everyone will be an investigative journalist or write for major media outlets. There are other jobs such as content marketing and copywriting that can be appealing. It’s also important to have more skills than just writing as the landscape has changed.


Want more of our Speaking to Media series? Check out our interview with Christina Zisko, Canadian Living Magazine. 

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