Corey Wilson is Executive Director, Communications at Condé Nast, overseeing public relations for the Innovation Collection, WIRED Media Group and Pitchfork. Previously he worked as a marketing executive at Edelman and as a reporter for the Chicago Tribune. Wilson received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Illinois. He lives in Montclair, New Jersey, with his wife and three sons.
Where are you based?
We’re at One World Trade Center in NYC.
Executive Director, Communications, Condé Nast.
Tell us about your background? How did you get to where you are today?
I began my career in journalism as a reporter at the Chicago Tribune and transitioned to PR pretty early on. My first job in PR was at Edelman in Chicago working for the consumer brands group on clients like Burger King, Captain Morgan Rum and MTD Lawnmowers. In 2007 I moved to New York and took a job at Condé Nast where I’ve worked on a number of different media brands including GQ, Wired, Pitchfork and others.
Take us through a “typical” work day – what does it look like? What are you engaged in?
A “typical” day, if there is one, consists of lots of meetings! Sometimes back-to-back all day. Right now, we’re in the middle of planning several events for the summer and fall, which requires a lot of strategy sessions. On top of that, there is the daily grind of doing PR for news organizations. My team is in charge of pushing out and responding to news generated by our brands every day, which entails a lot of writing and packaging content, booking and coordinating interviews, monitoring media coverage, and so on. It’s pretty relentless but fun.
What does your media diet consist of?
Like most folks in this business, I’m a total news junkie, which is to say I get it anywhere I can. First thing each morning I scan Twitter and our “breaking news” slack channel to see what I missed overnight. Then I shift to email to take a quick peek at daily newsletters I subscribe to like Axios, Politico Playbook, -Morning Media, Morning Tech, Digiday, etc. I get the New York Times delivered to my house, so I read the paper and listen to a podcast or music on my morning train commute. For general news of the day, I listen to NPR One and The Daily podcasts. I listen to NPR’s All Songs Considered and [plug] Pitchfork EIC Ryan Schreiber’s "What's Good" playlist on Spotify to keep me updated on the latest music and album releases. I also really enjoy the Recode media podcast with Peter Kafka. And for my celeb entertainment fix, I listen to WTF with Marc Maron.
What is your office/work setup like?
I’m not going to lie, it’s pretty spectacular. My office is on the 39th floor of the World Trade Center and our floor faces north so we have epic views of midtown Manhattan. Generally, I come into the office everyday unless I’m traveling. I recently moved from Brooklyn to the suburbs, so I need that daily shot of the city even more now.
What is a recent communications/media campaign you enjoyed? I thought the West World activation/stunt at SXSW was genius.
How is your communications team staffed/organized and how many people make up your team?
I oversee comms for a number of groups: The Wired Media Group, which includes tech publications Wired and Ars Technica, has a team of three. I also oversee comms for the music publication Pitchfork, which is a two-person team. And I’m the comms lead for the Innovation Collection, which represents the business and marketing arms of Wired Media Group, Pitchfork, and Golf Digest, among other titles. Additionally, we employ PR agencies to support us on the different events we handle, including WIRED Café and WIRED Business Conference, as well as the Pitchfork Music Festivals in Chicago, Paris, and New York.
How do you recharge?
To be honest, I don’t have a ton of “me” time to recharge at the moment. I have three boys under the age of five and my wife, who also works in PR, keeps a pretty hectic schedule. That said, I try to escape for an hour on Sundays to go for a run. Otherwise, I rely on that sweet spot between 10pm and midnight most evenings, when the kids are asleep and I’m finished checking email/slack for the night and I can read, watch Netflix, or catch the end of a baseball game.
What is the best advice you’ve received?
I don’t know if there is one piece of advice, but I have worked with and for people who hammered home how important the fine details are. That sounds pretty simple, but it amazes me how many mistakes I see in presentations and emails on a regular basis. I’m not a micromanager and I don’t think I’m uptight but I’m an absolute stickler for formatting, fact checking, spell checking, and organization of thoughts. I insist of everything coming out of my department to be squeaky-clean.
Life in public relations is…
What are you reading or what would you recommend?
A friend just recommended the Bascombe Trilogy by Richard Ford, so I plan to dig into that this summer. I’m also reading “Meet Me in the Bathroom: Rebirth and Rock N Roll in New York City” about the music scene in New York in the early oughts. And I recently listened to the audio book of “The Kids Stays in the Picture” narrated by Robert Evans himself. It’s so damn entertaining.
What tools or technologies can’t you live without?
I’m a notebook and pencil guy, but I rely on my iPhone for pretty much everything. I need it for my job, but would gladly throw it in the Hudson River if I could.
What is next for public relations? What emerging trends do you see?
This is the best time to work in public relations. Brands are faced with incredibly complex problems that can’t be solved with an ad campaign or one-way communication. People want and expect to have a dialogue, to be part of the process. It’s never been more important to have a core set of ideals and to align your brand with a clear purpose. Public relations is uniquely suited to lead more open, honest dialogues, and that is really energizing.