September 21, 2012

Four on Friday: Jarred Schenke of Bisnow Atlanta

If you’re in commercial real estate in
Atlanta, you’re almost certainly familiar with Real Estate Bisnow
, the lively e-mail newsletter that keeps industry members in the
know with a steady stream of breaking news, fun photos and the witty prose of
Jarred Schenke. A veteran real estate and business journalist, Schenke has
overseen Bisnow Atlanta for two years now.

We recently got a chance to speak with
Schenke about the Bisnow empire, which now
includes more than 20 regional e-mail newsletters and a national edition, and
he also gave us the lowdown on his journalism career, his love of commercial
real estate … and his loyalty to the Sony Walkman.

Me1HS: Give us an overview of your career in

Schenke: Is this what we’re calling it now? A career? Tell that to my wife,
who reminds me that I need to find “a real job” every day.

The thing is,
I’ve spent almost my entire career within the industry. Like many in my
industry, my first real journalism job was the “boot camp” called The Marietta
Daily Journal, first as an obit/nighttime police reporter and eventually
covering county and state political news. I thought I found my dream job – being
a political journalist. So I jumped next to The Macon Telegraph, taking a
position on the business beat with plans to wait until the paper had an opening
on politics. But a funny thing happened: I fell in love with business

And soon enough,
I was recruited out of that paper to join the Atlanta Business Chronicle, where
I eventually landed in the coveted commercial real estate beat. While I’ve not
always been a reporter in my career – I did have a stint as a marketing/PR
“guru” for five years with Ackerman & Co. – I’ve remained in the CRE

HS: Explain the mission of Bisnow and how
the various Bisnow publications seek to differentiate themselves in a crowded
media environment.

Schenke: It’s funny; I was one of the bigger skeptics of Bisnow’s format when
I first discovered it five years ago. Obviously I’m a convert now. It’s a
clever take on traditional trade media. We have the mainline pubs, the monthly
events and the advertising. The difference is we don’t physically print anything.
Ours is an email product.

And Bisnow’s
“secret sauce,” so to speak, has to do with how we write. Our stories are very
short – generally a paragraph with lots of fun, casual pictures. It makes for a
quick read – most are in and out in under five minutes. And that makes us
unique in this environment. It’s also why we have grown so rapidly in the past
few years, from just a handful of regional pubs into a company producing more
than 20 publications throughout the country and Canada.

HS: What about commercial real estate do
you find most interesting?

Schenke: I love the personalities. I love the fact that everyone takes as much
pleasure as I do as digging up interesting stories. Brokers, developers, money
men, and us journalists: We all love being in the know and getting information

Plus, growing
up in Atlanta, real estate is to our city what cars are to Detroit. It’s one of
our primary industries. So, my love for CRE is partly cultural as well.

HS: A confidential source of ours indicates
that you're a big fan of Pure Prairie League. This brings to mind a few
questions. First, can you confirm this? Two, are any of their songs among the
most played on your iPod? And three, what are the three most-played songs on
your iPod?

Schenke: Did you know Vince Gill once sang for Pure Prairie League? How can
you not love a band once fronted by Vince? Of course I can confirm this. It’s
one of the few bands whose music fits perfectly with my
singing-in-the-shower-only voice.

The thing about
me though is, by and large, I never left the 80s. It drives my wife crazy, but
when I’m listening to music in the car or at home, it’s most likely from
the 80s. Heck, my kids even know the words to such classics as “We Built This
“Beat It” and “I’ve Done Everything for You (You’ve Done Nothing for

Now, please
understand that, as a throwback, I have a reputation to uphold. I do not own an
iPod. My music is either played on CD or cassette (yes, I still own a Sony

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