Meet the Mentors: Erin Lebar, Olivia Michalczuk

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Whether you’re promoting a new album or tour, launching a new business, or opening an art exhibit, there are a handful of things every press release should include. In this workshop on September 19, Arts Fundamentals: How to Write a Press Release, we’ll discuss the key information to have in any release, and cover different styles of releases, how to reach out to media outlets, who to reach out to, and how to find their contact info. Participants will be able to do hands-on work on their own releases in small groups, and are encouraged to come prepared with questions and/or media release drafts to work through with the mentors.

Erin Lebar is a culture and music writer at the Winnipeg Free Press, where she spends her time interviewing musicians, reviewing shows, writing lifestyle stories and co-hosting a weekly pop-culture podcast, Bury the Lede. Erin has her Master’s degree in journalism from New York University with a focus on entertainment writing. While in New York, Erin interned at Rolling Stone Magazine and CMJ, two music publications with very different vibes. Erin can help with any media related questions or problems, such as how to figure out the best angle for potential news stories, how to get that down on paper in a press release worth reading, and how to get that press release into the hands of the right media outlets.

Discovering the local music scene just months prior, Olivia Michalczuk started writing volunteer pieces for local music magazines in 2015, at age 21. Using those articles as sample pieces, she acquired a position at he Manitoban. Olivia worked two years as an arts and culture reporter and one as an arts and culture editor before cofounding Paper Cut Winnipeg with Jared Gauthier. Paper Cut partners with local publications to report on current events and also releases a weekly podcast featuring local creators - musicians, visual artists, graphic designers, photographers, etc. Olivia is passionate about the Winnipeg music scene and supporting local artists with their representation in media.

Get to know them better with our little Q+A...

If you were to write a book what would it be about? Do you have a title?

Erin: The title would be “Go Home and Be Quiet”, – a phase that is fast becoming my signature – and it would be about all the things/people I wish I never had to hear from again.

Olivia: I wrote a 63 page document as my major degree paper for my masters and since then, can't imagine writing anything over 1,000 words again. I work in bite size from now on.

Describe the best dessert you have ever had? When was the last time you ate it?

Erin: I once had a milk chocolate crème brulee in a restaurant in New York and I think about it at least once a week. I only had it the one time, probably six years ago, but man, it was so good.

Olivia: I always dig a good crème brulée. I take myself out for dessert with a good book way too often. 

What superpower would you like to have?

Erin: Teleportation, no question.

Olivia: For sure mind reading, that would save so much time. Of course only if/when they let me and if/when I wanted to. 

What’s your favorite section in a bookstore or library?

Erin: True crime! Perhaps it’s the journalist in me but I love a good investigative piece.

Olivia: Burton Lysecki has an "ideas" section which I find fascinating. My partner also has a great library and I trust his taste so between those two I think I could be set for life. 

What’s something you believed earlier in your career but think about differently now?

Erin: That interviewing celebrities is some big, daunting thing. After talking to literally hundreds of them, I’ve learned they’re just regular schmoes like the rest of us, and often just want to have a genuine conversation like you would with anyone else!

Olivia: That I am doing the worst out of everyone around me. I felt like every opportunity I had was based on luck or meeting a gender diversity quota; I was never meeting standards or I was always being opposed. Being comfortable with my emotions and sharing these feelings with professors, bosses, peers, turns out lots of people feel this "imposter syndrome", including some outrageously successful women. When I feel this way, rather than evaluating my experience and credentials, I measure the person opposing me, their experience and biases. I say what I feel and do what I think is right and I know I can be wrong or out of my league sometimes but the more confident I am in myself and where I am, the better. I 100% deserve to be here. You 100% deserve to be here. Just keep pushing forward and supporting people around you. 

Find out more about this workshop and register online

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