Archive for the ‘Print’ Category

Random questions

April 12, 2010

Is it okay to put on a regional accent to match that of regional media you’re selling in to?

– Would it help at all? Even in a tiny way.

Who are these people that buy an iPad just to film themselves destroying it?

– They obviously have money to chuck away.  This video seems to have inspired the trend:

Will Sarah Brown’s toes affect the outcome of the election?


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

Big news news stories of 2009

December 11, 2009

End of year reviews are great. I’m looking forward to Sky News’ annual look back at the headlines of the year (Jade Goody, swine flu, MJ, floods, etc) and the last weekend supplements of 2009.

Two meta-media news stories that stood out for me – in terms mass coverage and political impact – are the Daily Telegraph’s MP expenses leak and The Sun turning blue.

Daily Telegraph

A leaked copy of MPs’ expenses records made its way onto the Daily Telegraph’s pages in May. The story was covered everywhere, dominating the media for months causing massive reputational damage to politics and politicians (as well as various MP resignations, a new Speaker, an inquiry and a shakeup of the entire expenses culture).

The Sun

After supporting Labour since 1997, the Sun switched allegiance to the Conservatives, with a headline-grabbing front page (above) and lists of Labour’s failures (along with a handy wallchart). The timing was meant to cause maximum damage, coming the day after Gordon Brown’s speech at the party conference. Interesting to see if this shapes or reflects ‘the nation’s mood’.

Here’s PR Week’s 2009 comms review. Enjoy!

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.


theblogpaper – a paper made from blogs!

November 25, 2009

Just when it seemed like London’s freesheet industry had died, along came theblogpaper!

This is a fantastic, innovative idea – a crowdsourced newspaper compiling the best blogs.

People submit blog articles to the website. They’re rated by readers and then the top articles are published in a newspaper.

My definition of ‘printernet‘ has now been widened to include the mutual crossover taking place between print and online media. Theblogpaper is a great example of the constant blurring between ‘old’ and ‘(relatively) new’ technology.

The first issue came out on Friday 20 November (after a pilot in September) and was available at Stratford, Bethnal Green, Old Street, Angel and Holborn train stations.

It’s not yet available outside of London, but theblogpaper has kindly sent me a copy in the post. Can’t wait to see it.

Did you pick up a copy of theblogpaper? What did you think?