not arrogant, just better

paul stallard's pr blog

Meet the media: Chris Barraclough, Mobile Choice

Written by Paul Stallard

As well as kick starting work on this blog again I have also reignited my meet the media series. For those of you who haven’t stumbled upon this series before click on the link above to see some of the past interviews with the likes of the FT, Wired, T3 and New Scientist to name just a handful. The premise behind the interviews is to get the opinion of prominent journalists about all things to do with our industry so we can start to help improve relations and share best practice. I also hope that it helps to paint a picture of what it is like at the other end of the phone and what pressures journalists are under.

The first of the class of 2012 is Chris Barraclough the devices editor of Mobile Choice. He talks about how when he puts in a request to PRs, it is essential that he gets a response – even if it isn’t the one that he wants to hear. I also love his answer to what makes a great press event. I’m sure quite a few echo his response. Enjoy.

Name: Chris Barraclough @seebaruk
Title I work for: Mobile Choice (Devices Editor)

Paul Stallard: What is your pet hate of PR?
Chris Barraclough: Most PRs I’ve had the pleasure to meet do an excellent job, under what I can only imagine is a huge amount of stress! And often when we have issues getting in review kit, the fault lies with the clients rather than the PRs themselves. It’s easy to complain about the constant phone calls from some PRs whose products are completely irrelevant to your mag, but I can understand they’ve got targets to meet same as the rest of us, and sometimes you can get a little desperate! There you go, there’s my diplomatic answer 😉

PS: What is the best way to contact you?
CB: Definitely email, I check it regularly and it’s the least disturbing method.

PS: Do you think that most PR professionals read the title you write for before contacting you?
CB: Most of them do, but as stated before, we do get some bizarre requests and releases sent over. Mobile Choice definitely doesn’t feature ladies underwear or sex enhancement pills, for instance. Of course, we’re always looking to expand… (so to speak)

PS: What is your top tip for PR professionals?
CB: It’s a tough job, and we really do understand that and feel bad when we have to pester for review kit etc, but a same-day response is always massively appreciated, even if it’s a simple ‘not yet’.

PS: How many emails / calls do you get a day?
CB: Emails, probably around 50ish. Calls usually around 10, and I only pick up if I’m in ‘down time’.

PS: How has the increase of social media affected traditional journalism?
CB: News stories break a lot faster and it’s easy to catch up with global events using sites such as Twitter. It’s also helped to build a community feel on websites – we’re currently undergoing a massive redesign on the Mobile Choice website, with the aim to build such a community, as we think it’s vital to hear the real-life experiences and thoughts of our readers.

PS: Have you had to change your writing style for online copy to incorporate SEO?
CB: Ohhhhhh yes!

PS: Is there a future long term for hard copy publications or will online rule?
CB: I don’t see mags dying out for a loooong time, although sales have definitely dwindled with the internet boon, and the likes of Apple’s Newsstand means people can get titles on their tablets. There’s something about flicking through a paper mag, though. I love the smell of a freshly printed page

PS: Bar your own, which news titles do you read?
CB: All the major tech journalism sites

PS: Do you believe journalists are rude to PR professionals?
CB: I’ve seen some extremely rude behaviour that’s made me quite uncomfortable, including one journo who was screaming at a client for what he deemed was a ‘pointless event and a waste of time’. I think he was more upset because he arrived late and all the chips and dip had already been eaten. Most tech journos are teddy bears though.

PS: Do you believe PR professionals are rude to journalists?
CB: Only after a few drinks and behind their backs. Nah, can’t think of any PRs that have struck me as unprofessional, to be honest.

PS: What do you look for in a press trip?
CB: Exotic location, loads of free booze. What more is there?

PS: What do you want from a PR to help make your life easier?
CB: Just to keep in touch with the latest news and events, and to let us know as soon as review kit is available.