By Marissa Willman

Palm Springs Women in Film and Television will put members of the media in the hot seat on Saturday at its annual PSWIFT Luncheon, where a press panel discussion will give the public an opportunity to ask hard-hitting questions to members of the local media.
“This [panel] is the best opportunity because it’s like everything you ever wanted to know about the media in the Coachella Valley but were too afraid to ask,” said Pattie Daly Caruso, local television personality who serves as chair and emcee of the event.
The panel will feature an impressive lineup from the local media. Print media panelists include Greg Burton, Executive Editor of The Desert Sun, Steven R. Biller, Editor-in-Chief of Palm Springs Life, Bruce Fessier, Special Projects Editor at The Desert Sun, and Gloria Greer, Social Editor at Palm Springs Life and host and producer with KVCR. Local news stations will be represented by Brooke Beare of CBS Local 2, Karen Devine of KESQ and Gino Lamont of KMIR 6.
PSWIFT’s newly-elected president, Patti Gribow, recognizes the importance of media for local business owners who are looking to market their businesses.
“Every business owner in this community needs to know how to communicate with the press,” Gribow said. “How do you get your word out if you’re not paying for media? Through the press.”
Attendees will have an opportunity to write down their questions on tablets for the panelists to answer.
“Hopefully, it will be no holds barred and we’ll find out information they usually keep to themselves within the newsroom,” said Diane Marlin-Dirkx, journalist and PSWIFT board member.
Brooke Beare, CBS Local 2 anchor, said one of the most important aspects of Saturday’s luncheon is networking with the press.
“Once you develop a familiar relationship with the people you’re trying to pitch, they trust you a little bit more,” Beare said. “They feel like you’re a credible source and that you’re not just trying to sell them something.”
In addition to the highly-anticipated press panel, PSWIFT will also present about $3800 worth of scholarships to students from the Coachella Valley who are pursuing higher education. Gribow is ecstatic that the organization will give out a record number of scholarships at this year’s luncheon.
“We’re giving out scholarships more than we’ve ever given out scholarships before,” Gribow said. “It’s going to be pretty spectacular.”
PSWIFT will also honor a number of programs on Saturday, including BookPALS, an all-volunteer literacy program where performing artists read aloud to children at public elementary schools. Also to be honored is Tools for Tomorrow, an after-school literacy program that promotes writing, drama, art and music at schools throughout the Coachella Valley.
PSWIFT is the Palm Springs chapter of Women in Film and Television. The local chapter was founded in 2001 and provides a community and mentorship opportunities for members of the entertainment industry at all career levels. Throughout the year, the group hosts luncheons and educational events with guest speakers such as producers Gary Pudney and Gale Anne Hurd. The organization also presents the Broken Glass Awards each year, honoring accomplished women who have broken through the glass ceiling of the industry.
The luncheon and press panel are open to the public though seating is limited. For more information, call (760) 238-0306

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