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Meet the media: Adrian Bridgwater


Written by Paul Stallard
Source: Adrian Bridgewater

Source: Adrian Bridgwater

This week the journalist who has agreed to take part in my Meet the Media interview is Adrian Bridgwater, a prolific freelancer and a regular blogger on ZD Net amongst others. Please note that I have already apologised to Adrian for being a wimp, but I have blanked out the name of the journalist he named and shamed as the rudest hack he had dealt with.

Adrian brings an interesting perspective to the interviews having worked in PR for seven years and offers some strong advice. My favourite was: ‘Sell a story on its news value and not what the client wants.’

Paul Stallard: What is your pet hate of PR?
Adrian Bridgwater: People that think I cover IT in general and don’t realise that software application development is a big enough area to focus on specifically

PS: What is the best way to contact you?
AB: Always by email please.

PS: Do you think that most PR professionals read the titles you write for before contacting you?
AB: They used to be very bad at this when I worked for mostly print media, but a great many do check my online writing before contacting me which is both refreshing and gratifying at the same time.
PS: Have you ever done any PR work and if yes what was the experience like?
AB: I actually worked full time in PR for seven years for a large agency called Brodeur both in the UK and in the Middle East.

PS: What is your top tip for PR professionals?
AB: Act like a journalist. Sell a story on its news value and not what the client wants. Be realistic, say when a story is weak and make a fuss about the big news.

PS: Do you run or can you recommend a PR training course?
AB: I think Guy Clapperton’s is probably the most highly regarded. But equally, I’m always available for hire 🙂

PS: How many emails / calls do you get a day?
AB: About 100 mails I guess. Nobody calls me as most people know I travel constantly between my second home in the USA and the UK.

PS: How has the increase of social media affected traditional journalism?
AB: That’s hard to answer as I’m not a traditional journalist. It has affected me greatly as a freelancer though. While I abhor Facebook (if that even counts as social media) I adore Twitter. It’s like being in the office with a whole bunch of great contacts even when you are working from home.

PS: Have you had to change your writing style for online copy to incorporate SEO?
AB: Nope, not once. I think that’s a sell out tactic unless you count headlines in which case it is essential.

PS: Is there a future long term for hard copy publications or will online rule?
AB: Newspapers yes, magazines no, books always.

PS: Bar your own, which news titles do you read?
AB: Dr Dobbs, Heise, The Register, Developer.com, CNET, Tim Anderson’s IT Writing, Hard Copy etc..

PS: What is the worst case of PR you have come across? You don’t have to mention the company unless you really want to.
AB: People who send me “construction” development stories. I also particularly dislike being sold to over the phone by ‘ballsy’ 21 year old women who are in their first job and think that PR is all about sales. There’s a real sort to be identified there, they call you and a TELL you that you are interested as they read their lines. I blame the managers that hire and encourage them and not the girls themselves.

PS: Are there any PR agencies you have black listed because of bad practices?
AB: Not really, I have been totally let down by one particular agency in West London a good deal. But name and shame serves no purpose and everyone deserves a second chance.

PS: What is your favourite restaurant/coffee house for briefings?
AB: Anywhere with brown sauce.

PS: Do you believe journalists are rude to PR professionals?
AB: No – and if they are, they don’t deserve to be writers. I once had a journalist put the phone down on me when I was in PR and I don’t mind naming him. He was called XXXXXX XXXXXX and I think he worked for XXXXXX News. If I ever had the misfortune to be sat in a press briefing with him I wouldn’t miss the chance to remind him what an arsehole he is.

PS: Is being London based an advantage for PR professionals?
AB: Not for me. I work virtually from Surrey and Maryland 🙂

Previous Meet the Media interviews:
Clive Akass, PCW
Guy Clapperton
Dan Oliver, .Net
Jon Gripton, SkyNews.com
Alex Blyth
Christine Horton, Channel Pro
Alan Burkitt-Gray, Global Telecoms Business
Peter Whitehead, FT Digital
Sally Whittle

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