What’s the top story you’re working on right now?
To be honest, it would be my latest book rather than a story. I’m writing a book about Detroit’s Delray neighborhood. So that is a top priority to me (research and writing takes about a year). I’m always looking for help in that area, so if people know someone to interview, let me know! In addition, I regularly freelance for three organizations: Corp! Magazine, Detroit Unspun blog and The Detroit News. So I’m all in on Detroit. I’m writing about the city on a regular basis. As a result, my top story of the moment is anything affecting Detroit: population loss, business growth, environmental issues. But I also receive freelance assignments from other organizations on a regular basis, so life is never boring!
Tell us about your dream assignment.
My dream assignment is a long-form feature story about a fascinating business or business owner. I like family-owned businesses as a rule, so something about a century-old company would be a thrill! I willingly write about anything, and my interests are fairly varied. So I’m open to any and all pitches. I’d like to think I can take any suggestion and turn it into a good blog post or article.
Describe the craziest or most fun story you’ve written.
I’ve written about Jack Kevorkian for The Oakland Press, Kmart’s corrupt leadership for The Detroit News and Better Made Snack Foods as part of a book project. So I’ve met some characters! I’d have to say the Cipriano family, the owners of Better Made, were among my favorite interviews. They are all in on Detroit and the snack-food industry. I appreciated their history and their secretive nature as a privately held company, given the challenges of competing against titans like Frito-Lay.
What is your top pet peeve with PR people?
For me, it is when someone doesn’t take the time to understand my schedule. I’m a bit of a unicorn – I freelance from home to accommodate my children’s schedules. So my hours are strict: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. I don’t respond after hours unless it is an emergency. And I’d like the PR people who contact me to understand that because the kids are always around that I’d prefer an email or text to a phone call. Plus, it typically takes me a day or so to respond since I’m wearing so many hats. But I hope that the resulting article is worth the investment!
What is the top trend you’re covering or interested in right now?
Always Detroit, small business, personal finance and sustainability or green topics. But I enjoy having the variety of topics that a freelance career affords you, so I am open to any topic or trend. I don’t cover schools or politics of any kind, so those are the only topics I tend to avoid.
Tell us a little about yourself (family, interests, favorites, background, etc.)
I am a work-at-home freelancer with a husband who is employed at General Motors and two children (ages 8 and 10, so they’re finally getting old enough to make their own lunches!). I’ve written two local history books and I love learning about the city and my community (I live in Grosse Pointe Woods, and I enjoy all of the East side).
Finish this sentence: People would be surprised to know that I…
…That I love music of every kind! I pretty much span the gamut when it comes to what I listen to, especially when I’m working. So you can find me at concerts around town on a regular basis.
Follow Karen on Twitter and Instagram at @kdybis.
You can find Karen’s books here: