Sunday papers are about ‘preview’ not ‘review’. That’s the perspective of Kamal Ahmed, business editor of the Sunday Telegraph, and it’s one PR people trying to get coverage would do well to remember. In a talk to the CIPR Corporate and Financial Group, he explained he gets far too many PRs just offering him more comment on things that have already happened, and have been fully covered during the week. They often don’t help themselves with timing: people looking for coverage in that week’s Sunday paper too often ring up on the Wednesday, by which time most of the key themes have already been decided. They are better off giving advance warning if there’s something unusual or interesting coming up, so it has a better chance of being on the paper’s agenda, or passed on to the daily paper if more appropriate.
Having previously been a political editor, Ahmed believes business stories are increasingly being seen from a political perspective – eg bankers’ bonuses are no longer just a matter for the bankers; they are now seen as having to be answerable to wider society, not just themselves. He also made a point that we often try to bring out on our media training courses – PRs should think more carefully about the agenda and particular obsessions of the publication they are trying to get into. (Eg the Telegraph group is generally pro-business and eurosceptic). If you can demonstrate to the correspondent that you are aware of the sorts of topics and angles they are interested in, and can align your client to any of those, you are much more likely to score a hit. Obvious maybe, but frequently ignored by many PR people, who never seem to read the papers!