In our latest media Q&A, we get to better understand what VC journalists really care about when it comes to pitching them stories. In this post, we hear from Alastair Goldfisher, the venture capital editor for Buyouts Insider. He drives venture capital coverage for VC Journal and also serves as the contributing editor for PE Hub — so if you’re venture backed company or in an industry attracting a lot of VC attention, he wants to hear from you.

Q. What is your favorite part about being a reporter?

It’s all about educating and informing the audience. I like to be in the know and to cover interesting trends and hope that what I author resonates with people and has an impact. The best part about being a reporter is when people say they read my articles and tell me what they think about it or give me ideas for scoops or future stories. That’s what it’s all about.

Q. What are your favorite types of companies to cover?

If it’s not venture-backed, I’m not interested. I’m not a tech reporter and I don’t do deep dives into the engineering or the tech solutions a company provides. I want to know who the investors are and why they backed the startup. Beyond that, I want to hear about companies with interesting narratives. That could mean the founders have a compelling back story or the company is in a hot sector attracting a lot of VC interest. Those are the best ones to send my way.

Q. Do you like being pitched on your social media networks?

If it’s from someone I know and it’s done correctly, yes, I don’t mind. I had a situation recently in which a PR person I have known for a few years, messaged me on Instagram, and then we texted and talked on the phone and finally emailed. But I knew her beforehand. The worst is on Twitter when I get public pitches in tweets. I ignore those. A social media pitch should remain in a private message, not on a public-facing platform. And they should be brief. Social media pitches are about gauging interest. You can follow up on email if there’s interest.

Q. How important is an in-person briefing?

Depends if the person is a venture capitalist or a source I want to cultivate. Meetings take time if you consider travel and other dynamics, so if it’s for a quick story or a brief or a one-off article, I’ll likely decline a meeting. Another aspect of in-person briefings is that I refuse to do them over a meal. If you’re in PR and we know each other, I’ll happily grab a bite with you if you want to chew the fat, so to speak. But I can’t eat and talk and take notes. It’s the same over beer and coffee. Ideally, for a briefing to be productive, it should remain professional and happen in a place of business or a meeting area.

Q. What makes for a good spokesperson?

A good spokesperson is someone who brings value to the relationship. Someone who can make intros, provide backgrounders or data upon request and give me info and tips for stories. On the flip side, a bad spokesperson is someone who “interview-blocks” me. That’s when I directly contact a source, such as a VC, and the spokesperson steps in and cancels the call or steers my talk with a different person. I am not required to go through a spokesperson. So if I have a relationship with a source, I will contact that person directly and I don’t want a company or firm spokesperson to interfere. The good ones don’t get their feelings hurt if I circumvent them.

Q. Tell us one fun fact about yourself.

I’m vegan. That’s another reason why I don’t like to take those in-person briefings over meals. Not sure it’s a fun fact, but it is a large part of who I am. I have been a vegetarian for about 30 years and an off-and-on vegan for several years, but I have been a die-hard 100 percent vegan now for about four years. Health and wellness and animal welfare are the top reasons why.