He studied English literature at Boston University and received an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Washington, where he won the Mary Rouvelas Prize in Fiction. Following three summers abroad studying poetics and art history at the UW Rome Center in Italy, he returned home to write the great American novel fight fires in the US Forest Service in Montana. Well of course, because that’s what great writers do, right?
Over the past decade Doug Schnitzspahn has worked on various magazine titles and his name has appeared in bylines from Outside to Men’s Journal. Most of you might know him as “DougS@ORShowDailies.com” — THAT guy. Who – not only wades through our product picks and general editorial submissions for the OR Show Daily – but is also the editor in chief of Elevation Outdoors and a reporter for SNEWS.
This morning I managed to toast a bagel without burning it.
Just felt like I needed to set the bar a little lower for some of us reading this post…
What stories are you interested in hearing about?
Any story you would honestly want to pick up and read. Innovative gear.
Preferred method of contact: email or phone?
To follow-up or not to follow-up?
Sure. I’m usually so overwhelmed, it can work well. But don’t be overbearing.
Use social media to get story ideas? Following anyone interesting on Twitter?
I do. I’m more of a Facebook guy. Twitter is just too much information to effectively manage. I use it and look at it but there’s a lot of junk to sort through.
What do you read regularly?
Print: The Economist, The New Yorker, High Country News, Bertrand Russell, Gibbon, Sicilian crime novels. Online: ESPN, TalkingPointsMemo, Andrew Sullivan (The Atlantic), SonsofSamHorn (Red Sox fan site), EdgeoftheAmericanWest
Where do you get story ideas?
Anywhere I can find them. Travel is probably the best, since you actually go and see something or someone, instead of hearing about it through someone else’s words. I keep my ears open and listen to what non-outdoor industry people are talking about. I often get assignments and then have to do research. I love research, actually.
What’s the coolest thing you’ve seen in the active lifestyle/outdoor industry lately?
I like this free iPhone app called RunKeeper. It tracks runs, bike rides, hikes, skis, etc almost as well as an expensive GPS unit (though you need phone/GPS service). Plus, it’s free.
I’m interested in Dynafit’s new TLT-5 uberlight touring boots. The backcountry can be putrid early season in the Front Range and I want to get into rally athletic touring with some turing. Sort of like mountain biking in the winter.
I like the custom ski trend. I’m very interested in Brunton’s portable power systems since I have yet to find a field charger that I continue to use. Sling Fin tents seem interesting. I have never liked trekking poles but used a pair of the super-light carbon Black Diamond poles that break to three pieces on a press trip and it was the first time I thought I might want some.
Energizer had a multi-purpose charger at OR that would be idea to have in your car on trips to remote trailheads. Patagonia and Rab are making some fantastic super-lightweight down pieces. After interviewing someone who survived a big avalanche in BC thanks to a SnowPulse air bag, I think that we all should be wearing them in the backcountry (I wear my Avalung all the time).
I’m sold on 29ers too. I have been riding the Santa Cruz Tallboy and Giant’s hardtail XTC 29er and love the feel of the ride. Lifestyle-wise, is there any better all-purpose dude shoe than a Blundstone?
Media events- helpful or just an excuse to get out of the office?
Really helpful. With a family, it can be tough for me to schedule them but there’s nothing better than getting gear in your hands and talking to designers and like-minded people if you want to get a grasp on a product.
The weirdest/craziest pitch you ever received?
“Oddmakers Bet on the Next NBA Star to Turn to Judaism”
Ultimate PR ‘no no’s (bad grammar, spelling errors, misspelling name)
Not knowing enough about the product/person/idea you are pitching. Do your homework and research beyond the press release/brand pitch. Not showing up.
Your biggest pet peeve when working with PR people
Asking me to fax you a request.
Who the hell uses faxes anymore?? And do you have to dial a “9” and “1” for an outside line?
Word/phrase that makes you cringe when included in a press release/pitch
“fax your request”
Word/phrase that makes you smile when included in a press release/pitch
“media trip to the Mediterranean”
Tradeshow appointments- worth the time or just going through the motions?
Depends on how it is handled. Take me through a whole line as if I’m a buyer and you have lost me. Show me something of interest with a good story behind it, maybe introduce me to some interesting character at the company who can convey the time and passion that went into a product or brand and it’s well worthwhile.
media trip to the Mediterranean
Do yourself a favor, befriend this literary giant and send him on a Mediterranean press trip. Just don’t do it via fax.