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Meet the media – David Baker, WIRED UK

Written by Paul Stallard


Back in April of this year WIRED UK launched. The magazine has become synonymous with informed and intelligent analysis in the US so quite rightly was met with a flurry of excitement when it crossed the pond to our shores. So much so that it won the BSME Launch of the Year award on Tuesday night. Congrats to all involved.

As a result I was delighted when David Baker, managing editor for WIRED UK ,agreed to take part in one of my Meet the Media interviews. He makes a very key point about knowing the magazine and in particular the ability to refer to which section you are pitching for. If freelancers have to do this when looking for work then there simply is no excuse why PR professionals can’t.


Name: David Baker
Title I work for: Managing editor of WIRED

Paul Stallard: What is your pet hate of PR?
David Baker: Being phoned up to see if I have received an email. If I’m interested I am going to respond. Also, not asking if I am on deadline. I often am and will happily talk at another time.

PS: What is the best way to contact you?
DB: Email to our general PR address. All the editors see that.

PS: Do you think that most PR professionals read the titles you write for before contacting you?
DB: Hard to say. It would be handy if they did and could name the section of the title their story would be good for. We expect that of journalists pitching stories.

PS: Have you ever done any PR work and if yes what was the experience like?
DB: Yes, in the 1980s. Dispiriting. Most of it was creating stories out of nothing when the client should really be buying advertising.

PS: What is your top tip for PR professionals?
DB: Be able to summarise the story in eight words or less. This is often called the “top line” in newspapers, eg. “A new app, XXX, will be the death of Apple’s iPhone”

PS: Do you run or can you recommend a PR training course?
DB: No.

PS: How many emails / calls do you get a day?
DB: From PRs: about 50 emails, very few calls. In total about 100 emails, 20 calls.

PS: How has the increase of social media affected traditional journalism?
DB: With Twitter we can see what our readers think of a new issue as soon as it hits the street. In the past it was hard to get that feedback.

PS: Have you had to change your writing style for online copy to incorporate SEO?
DB: What’s SEO?

PS: Is there a future long term for hard copy publications or will online rule?
DB: Definitely a future for print. A well produced magazine is an artefact as well as a collection of information and opinion. Plus you can read it in the bath.

PS: Bar your own, which news titles do you read?
DB: Guardian, Economist.

PS: What is your favourite restaurant/coffee house for briefings?
DB: None particular.

PS: Do you believe journalists are rude to PR professionals?
DB: Yes and they shouldn’t be. (Though see deadlines above).

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