I recently chatted with reporter and lawyer Sue Reisinger about the evolution of legal media.
Sue is a senior reporter for Law360 covering general counsel. Before that, she spent 16 years at American Lawyer Media, also covering general counsel. She formerly worked as the assistant managing editor of the Dayton Daily News, managing editor of the Miami News, and assistant managing editor and Broward managing editor of the Miami Herald. As an adjunct professor, Sue has taught journalism at Ohio State University, the University of Dayton, and Florida International University. She holds a law degree from the University of Dayton and a master’s in journalism from Ohio State, where she was the first woman editor of the daily Ohio State Lantern.
Q: What has changed in legal media over the last five years and since the pandemic?
The main change is that legal media has gone digital. When I first joined American Lawyer Media, I was writing one in-depth feature story a month for the print magazine. Since everything went digital, media coverage moves much faster and news coverage is daily. I’m writing stories every day on different issues and topics. It’s exciting and challenging, but that’s the business and if you want to keep up, you must change with it. Since the pandemic, we are all working from home, so there is not that office camaraderie, but like everyone else, we stay in touch via text messaging and Zoom meetings.
Q: What legal trends are on the horizon?
Companies are still wrestling with the impact of COVID-19 and questioning returning to the office and vaccine mandates. Other big stories of the year will be related to climate change issues, social responsibly, and diversity and inclusion issues.
Q: What type of sources are you looking for and what makes a good source?
I seek sources who are reliable and knowledgeable about the topics we are writing about. Often, I will contact sources I’ve worked with before, but also accept sources that I haven’t worked with for new stories.
Q: What is your biggest pet peeve?
My biggest pet peeve is when someone goes through an interview and at the end, tells me it was all off the record. That’s a waste of time for me and for them. If a source wants to speak off the record, we need to discuss that upfront. I very rarely agree to an off-the-record interview.
Another pet peeve is when sources ask to review my stories before they publish.
Q: What other media do you follow outside of the legal industry?
I don’t nearly have enough time to read as much as I want, but I touch base daily with the New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal.
Q: How do you come up with your story ideas?
I come up with stories through a combination of factors: tips from sources, pitches and press releases. We also have a group of people in our newsroom who are reviewing story ideas and business wires, and will pitch ideas. I also watch what is being covered by mainstream media to see if there might be a legal angle for that particular story.
Q: What are your hobbies outside of work?
Pre-COVID-19, I practiced yoga and golfed weekly. I also enjoy hiking and have a one-year-old puppy who keeps me pretty busy.