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Meet the media – Jon Gripton, SkyNews.com


Written by Paul Stallard
Source: Jon Gripton

Source: Jon Gripton

As part of my meet the media series this week I have interviewed Jon Gripton the news editor at SkyNews.com about his experiences of working with PR professionals and his tips for pitching to him successfully.

Name: Jon Gripton
Title: News Editor, SkyNews.com

Paul Stallard
: What is your top tip for PR professionals?
Jon Gripton: Know your stuff – but know my audience, my needs and demands too.
Be creative, be clever, be flexible.

PS: What is the one thing that PR people forget that is essential for a pitch?
JG: Pictures!

PS: How has the increase of social media affected traditional journalism?
JG: I’m not sure it has ‘affected’ it, but it has helped it.
At Sky News we like to think we constantly innovate our ways to gather news. At the moment we’re having fun and success trying new things with Twitter, Flickr, CoverItLive and Mogulus.

Social media is helping us reach people far faster than in the past: we have found eyewitnesses ready to talk and share pictures on breaking news stories around the world thanks to Facebook and Twitter – something we’d really have struggled with a couple of years ago. Plus we can ask questions of our readers.

PS: What is the best way to contact you?
JG: Phone, email, Twitter

PS: Do you think that most PR professionals look at your website before contacting you?
JG: I would hope most do, but some clearly don’t – and that is infuriating

PS: What is the worst case of PR you have come across?
JG: This happens a lot so it is general: but why do some PR people send out a news release and then not have anyone available for interview!

PS: What is your pet hate of PR?
JG: Phoning to tell me you have a news release – phoning again to ask if I have received it! Especially when your ‘news’ is clearly not relevant to me and the SkyNews.com readers. And don’t get the office junior to phone if they won’t be able to answer a single question I ask!

PS: How many emails / calls do you get a day?
JG: Emails: about 300 on a quiet day
Phone calls: I’ve never counted.

PS: Bar your own, which news titles do you read/watch?
JG: All the national newspapers – papers first thing in the morning, then online, plus the online sites of the major regionals. At the weekend I choose from The Guardian, Telegraph, Mail, Sun and Times on Saturday and The Mail On Sunday, Sunday Times, Sunday Telegraph, Observer and News of the World on Sunday.
I’m from Wolverhampton so I always check in with the Express & Star – who gave me my start in journalism.

BBC, Reuters, Fox, CNN, Drudge Report, Breitbart – all online
Twitter and ReTweetRadar – bit of an addiction at the moment
And I might pick up The Week or The Economist, if I have the time at the weekend

PS: Is being London based an advantage for PR professionals?
JG: Not these days I don’t think

PS: Are there any PR agencies you have black listed because of bad practices?
JG: No

PS: What is your favourite restaurant/coffee house for briefings?
JG: If I’m lucky I can run to the Sky canteen!

PS: Do you believe journalists are rude to PR professionals?
JG: I would hope not.

PS: Have you ever done any PR work and if yes what was the experience like?
JG: No – and I really admire the PR people who get it right: Maria Boyle, Cat Hollis, the team at Which?, Janey Segal at Biss Lancaster. All fantastic.

Next in the meet the media series are as follows:
Dan Oliver, .Net (interview live on 28 April)

Previous interviews in the meet the media series:
Sally Whittle (17 March)
Peter Whitehead, FT Digital (24 March)
Alan Burkitt-Gray, Global Telecoms Business (31 March)
Alex Blyth (7 April)
Christine Horton, Channel Pro (14 April)