Publicity Seekers’ Road to the BBC

THE Publicity Seekers team headed out and about for a media day last week, catching up with contacts and sharpening our knowledge on exactly what content they are looking for.

We met Capital breakfast presenter, Matt Bailey, first in the reception of Global Radio. Matt gave us a brief tour of both the Capital and Heart studios and showed us to the boardroom, our planning hub for the morning. Here we began brainstorming the service we give our clients and how we could work to further enhance it.

The boardroom towered high above Newcastle-upon-Tyne and had a brilliant birds eye view of St James’ Park, so we didn’t find it too difficult to be inspired in such a setting.

From there we met with Martin Lindsay, the senior reporter at Global, in between his morning broadcasts. This was our opportunity to pick Martin’s brain about exactly what he looks for in a news story, what should be featured in his ideal press release, and how he puts together his daily news bulletins.

After our informative meeting with Martin and our lunch at The Alchemist, we headed to Blake’s to meet with Michael Marsh, news editor at the Chronicle. Michael was kind enough to take some time out of reporting on a murder case at Newcastle Crown Court to chat through a day in the life at his publication.

Unfortunately, he didn’t drop any hints as to the outcome of the case. He did however field our questions about the strategies Trinity Mirror is implementing and again, what things he would look for in a news release and how best to work alongside journalists to do our jobs.

We then came to the final stop on our tour of the Toon, with the team attending a panel debate at BBC Newcastle about what the future holds for local journalism.
As part of the panel there were a number of big names including Helen Dalby, editor of ChronicleLive and regional head of digital for Trinity Mirror; Gavin Foster, managing editor of the Sunderland Echo, Shields Gazette and Hartlepool Mail, Megan Lucero, head of Google-funded Bureau Local, Ted Ditchburn, managing director of North News and Andrew McKegney, policy and communication business partner at Newcastle City Council.

During the hour debate, there were a number of interesting points made by the panel. Gavin Foster stated that the rapidly changing ways in which people consume their news is due to the implementation of new technology and that some national media are still getting this massively wrong.

Helen Dalby said that digital is just a different mode of delivery for content and that as journalists they must not get caught up in analytics, as she said: “analytics don’t replace news sense or code of conduct”.

As for the next generation of journalists, Megan Lucero left the audience pondering whether or not journalism academies should leave space and time for students to be innovative in the way they deliver their news.

Days like this go a long way in helping our team to see and understand the other side of the coin. It ultimately allowed the newest members of the team to put to bed the apprehensions they have about meeting journalists and strengthened the relationship between the team and the publications we deal with on a daily basis.