Archive for the ‘A (virtual) coffee with…’ Category

A (virtual) coffee with… theblogpaper’s Karl Jo Seirlern

June 22, 2010

First things first. For anyone who’s not heard of theblogpaper – what is it?

The backbone of theblogpaper consists of a self-regulating web 2.0 community which creates and promotes articles, photos and comments via rating, thus creating a newspaper. therefore produces the first user generated newspaper in the UK/London.

Where did the idea come from?

Anton Waldburg came up with the idea during his last year of university. He realised that traditional media is failing to attract the young consumer and is generally going through a period of transition. His idea was to create a sustainable newspaper by young people for young people and additionally benefit from the opportunities the web offers.

Tell me about the launch in September. Sounds exciting.

Our launch in September is indeed very exciting. It is the next big step, we want to push the newspaper from a beta print version with a small circulation of only 10,000 issues to the official version with a circulation of 50,000 issues.  Momentarily it is all about selling sufficient ad space to cover all costs in September. This is a tough task, especially with the current situation in the advertising market but we are convinced that we will generate enough advertising partners before the launch.

Will London Evening Standard distributors be giving out theblogpaper? Where?

Yes if everything works according to plan than Evening Standard distributors will give out theblogpaper. The locations are not fully decided yet but we will let the community know asap.

Any plans for distribution outside London?

The plan is definitely to expand this concept nationally and internationally. Yet, we are a niche product, the majority of our readership is made up by a rather specific crowd of students, young creative’s and professionals, etc. There are only a handful of UK cities (such as Manchester, Edinburgh, Liverpool, etc) that have the size and necessary urban niche markets and requirements needed for our product. Internationally the idea is to expand into cities such as Berlin, NY, Paris, etc.

Is it really the death of print journalism?

We do not believe that the death of the print newspaper will come any time soon but we are absolutely aware that industry is going through a profound period of transition. A struggling advertising market (which always lags behind economic recovery) and an increasing number of online substitutes will diminish newspaper circulations in the long run. Especially products like iPads and Kindles will be a tremendous threat to the common print newspaper. Nevertheless, print media has an obvious optical, emotional and sensitive appeal; therefore, in my opinion there is still room for print journalism if they are able to adjust. Meaning that newspapers/magazines have to be more niche (distinctive personality), more interactive, significantly reduce costs, diversify into multiple platforms (such as; online, radio, etc) and probably become a free sheet since younger generations are rather unwilling to pay for print content. In the future it will be very hard to sustain a media company if the majority of the revenue is produced by a print newspaper.

Top tips for anyone thinking of submitting a blog post to theblogpaper?

Important is that we don’t look for exclusive content, we are looking for timeless quality content. The idea is to filter out the best content our community has to offer. Generally the most successful blogs are either controversial blogs or funny blogs. Funny content gets a lot of interest and generally high votes. Controversial content doesn’t get high votes but a lot of comments and people tend to forget that we not only promote and publish the highest rated content but also the articles that received most comments. Generally we always try to push our community to interact with each other. Only interaction makes this concept work.

Can’t live without: coffee, paper, or tweet

I am an absolute coffee maniac without a litre of coffee in the morning my body does not function a bit.

Anton Waldburg came up with the idea during his last year of university. He realised that traditional media is failing to attract the young consumer and is generally going through a period of transition. His idea was to create a sustainable newspaper by young people for young people and additionally benefit from the opportunities the web offers.

A (virtual) coffee with… David Coates, Business Editor, Lancashire Evening Post

January 17, 2010

A (virtual) coffee with… David Coates, Business Editor of the Lancashire Evening Post

David Coates is Business Editor of the Lancashire Evening Post (LEP) – my local newspaper. He’s been at the paper for just under 5 years, going from Business Reporter to Business Editor. The LEP has been around for over 120 years and is easily the newspaper of choice for people and businesses in the area. was named NW Daily Newspaper Website of the Year. The LEP comes out Monday – Saturday.

Why did you choose journalism as a career?

It was the only thing I was any good at! When I was at school, English was the only subject I enjoyed and football was my obsession, so sports journalism was an obvious choice.

When I finished college I was left with a choice, try and get a job as a raw, enthusiastic trainee or go to university.

I chose the former and got promised a job, aged 17-and-three-quarters, at my local paper down in Yeovil, Somerset – if I completed my NCTJ qualifications.

I did, got the job, sports journalism developed into news journalism and then business journalism – and the rest is history.

Thoughts on the north-west media scene?

The North West has a stronger regional media scene than the vast majority of other parts of the country.

We have some famous old papers, the M.E.N, the Echo and Post in Liverpool, Lancashire Telegraph, North West Mail – and the LEP, of course.

But, as with any media scene, it’s having to change; and with the possible exception of London, it’s leading the way.

I can recall the M.E.N having video content and obviously Channel M before many regionals had even thought about it, the LEP was Johnston Press’s pilot paper for its new media revolution, etc.

Perhaps it’s a bit of northern grit, but I can see the North West’s media scene being here long after others have gone.

Noticed any changes in the tone and volume of business-related press releases sent to you over the last two years?

Business has jumped up the agenda due to the recession and that’s not gone unnoticed to the world of PR and marketing.

The volume of press releases I receive has always been high – you cannot leave my inbox unattended more than half-a-day before it gets shut down due to too many emails – and the tone is definitely more advice driven than news driven.

Career highlights so far?

I got my dream job reporting on my football team, Yeovil Town, but after two years in it, decided to fly the nest and run away to the other end of the country to Lancashire.

I’ve met some fascinating people in this job, Terry Wogan was one of my favourites, although Ken Clarke I liked as well, both people with real personality.

But, I would add, some of the most interesting people are the small business people I talk to every week; many of their stories beat the ‘celebrities’ hands down.

Advice for PRs?

My one bugbear with PRs is too many don’t think about what they’re sending before they send it, whether that’s an email, a letter, making a phone call or whatever.

The amount of times I’ve had PRs calling about a story “in my area” in Manchester, which hasn’t been Lancashire for more than 35 years!

Think: What is the recipient’s circulation area and does this story fit it?

If it doesn’t, don’t send it. Rant over.

Advice for wannabe journalists?

Get experience of doing the job. Qualifications are great but there’s no substitute for experience, the quality of cuttings in your portfolio could be you and the next person going into your interview.

Favourite media?

It’s got to be newspapers. I spend my entire day staring at a computer screen and find a newspaper light relief; I can’t imagine that ever changing.

That’s not to say I don’t listen to the radio, watch television (I’m addicted to BBC News 24) and look online.

I’ve had an on-off relationship with Twitter, which has become more ‘on’ after recently getting an iPhone, but need to learn to harness social networking and blogging more.

Can’t live without: coffee, paper, or tweet

Coffee. As any of my colleagues will tell you, I’m addicted to the stuff – no, really, I think I need help!

Saying that, I would not want to do without newspapers and tweeting, well, we’re getting to know each other, as I say.



Telephone: 01772 838162

Twitter: coatesieboy

A (virtual) coffee with… Alice Wignall, freelance journalist

December 3, 2009

After starting her career by winning the Sunday Telegraph’s Catherine Pakenham award (Polly Toynbee is another former winner), Alice went on to become Senior Writer at New Woman, Features Director at more! magazine and a regular contributor to the Guardian. She’s just finished a stint as Features Director at Elle magazine and is now freelancing.

Why did you choose journalism as a career?

I worked on the student paper at university, eventually ending up as editor, and that got me hooked. The opportunity to write for a living was probably the biggest thing, but journalism also gives you the chance to really engage with and comment upon what’s going on around you.

What are your areas of interest?

I’ve worked in women’s magazines for all of my career, so as you would expect: relationships, emotions, style, culture and why they work in the way they do. For newspapers, I write about similar things, but with a slightly different approach; also on media, women and wellbeing.

How has your job changed over the last 5 years?

Personally, it’s changed because I now edit as much as write, a very different discipline and one that I really enjoy getting to grips with. Hopefully, finessing other people’s work makes me into a better writer too. In magazines particularly, over the last five years there are fewer writers on staff; freelancers are much more an essential part of the process – something that’s obviously been facilitated by the internet.

Career highlights so far?

Oh, lots! I loved working at Elle. I think it’s a great magazine, with a fantastically talented team and it’s so nice to work on something you are proud of. I also had a lot of freedom and responsibility: definitely a challenge but one I enjoyed. Editing my student paper wasn’t exactly a real job but I’ll never have more fun again. But I find almost everything I do interesting, and I’m very lucky to be able to do a job I love.

Advice for PRs?

Oh, just the usual gripes: don’t call up to pitch an idea that would never in a million years go in the publication I am writing for. At Elle, we’d get loads of PRs trying to place things on our food or interiors pages. We didn’t have any! Building good relationships is what brings most benefits to both sides.

Advice for wannabe journalists?

Work experience is pretty much essential to get you in the door and it’s an increasing problem that people who don’t come from London and/or from wealthy familes who can subsidise extended periods of working for free are at a disadvantage. So make the most of other opportunities: especially working on student newspapers, radio or TV stations. You need to show you’re committed – even a blog can do that. Don’t give up. Contrary to what you might think, the world is not full of talented, ambitious, hard-working candidates. The industry is hungry for fresh blood and if you can prove you have what it takes, you’ll be snapped up (eventually) – you just need to keep banging away.

Favourite media?

I love, love, love the internet but you’d struggle to get me to give up on print. It’s just a nicer reading experience, easier, more of a ritual. Nothing online can match a glossy magazine for the edit, knowhow and sensual pleasure of reading it. And newspapers’ websites often annoy me because their layout doesn’t correspond to the publication. I like the way that you can look at G2 on the Guardian’s website, so you can see all that day’s features. Other newspapers funnel you to ‘Health’, ‘Fashion’ or whatever – you go to what you know you’re interested in but miss out on stumbling across an great article on the adjoining page that you never would have thought to look for.

Can’t live without: coffee, paper, or tweet

I probably should try to live without Twitter, because it’s such a distraction. I don’t use that much paper (I don’t even own a printer). I don’t actually drink coffee, but replace that with tea and that would be it. I get through gallons of the stuff. I couldn’t contemplate work (or life!) without it.


A (virtual) coffee with… Mayah Riaz, editor of DEEN magazine

November 24, 2009

Mayah Riaz is clearly a woman who loves a challenge. She’s recently launched a consumer lifestyle magazine during a recession, at a time when newspapers and magazines are facing job cuts, closures and increasingly moving to online models. I caught up with her to find out why.

Tell us about DEEN magazine

DEEN is a lifestyle magazine aimed at men and women aged 18 – 45. We cover everything from fashion to food, gadgets to garden, homes to hair and much more.

With so many print publications closing, why did you decide to launch a magazine now?

Talks of DEEN Magazine started 15 months ago (around the same time as the credit crunch). We did our research and kept it up to date. As the market is recovering, we found it is a great time to launch a new, refreshing magazine. The response we have had to it has been overwhelmingly great. We were careful in how we did things. Majority of publications are closing because they have been hit by the recession and the falling advertising revenue, and not because their publications aren’t being read.

How can PRs help?

PR’s can help in the obvious way, and keep us up to date with the latest events, products, news.

What should PRs avoid?

Not re-send the same press releases over and over again.

Best time to contact you?


Can’t live without: coffee, paper, or tweet

Definitely paper. I scribble thoughts everywhere – more private that way!

Contact: Editorial Assistant/PA Nadia 020 7250 4707