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Meet the media: Chris Maxwell, Director


Written by Paul Stallard

The next interview in my meet the media series is Chris Maxwell from Director. I met Chris for the first time recently and as well as knowing a heck of a lot about lower league football I found him to be one of the most approachable and straight talking journalists I have met. It was a no brainer to ask him to take part in the series and I am delighted that he agreed. His background was working for a broadcaster so it is particularly interesting to see how his experience of PR in that space differs from that at Director. He also didn’t have a photo so he joins the ranks of the mystery men of journalism. Enjoy.

Name: Chris Maxwell
Title I work for: Director

Paul Stallard: What is your pet hate of PR?
Chris Maxwell: A lack of updates on the status of a request. If it’s looking unlikely, I’d rather know immediately so we can give the space to something else.

PS: What is the best way to contact you?
CM: Email. I’m often out at events, conducting interviews or in meetings – so the phone can be a little hit and miss.

PS: Do you think that most PR professionals read the title you write for before contacting you?
CM: In this industry (business journalism) yes. I previously worked in TV journalism and the same could not be said!

PS: How many emails / calls do you get a day?
CM: Around 100 emails and 15 calls.

PS: How has the increase of social media affected traditional journalism?
CM: There seem to be a lot of young writers coming directly from a blogging/social media background who think of themselves as journalists, but lack some of the essential training – most crucially from a research and legal perspective.

PS: Is there a future long term for hard copy publications or will online rule?
CM: I think there will always be a place for hard copies – people still want longer reads, which don’t lend themselves so well to online. But any magazine that isn’t simultaneously embracing digital formats is sure to fall far behind.

PS:  Bar your own, which news titles do you read?
CM: Most regularly The Times and The Guardian plus BBC News and Sky News online.

PS: What is the worst case of PR you have come across?
CM: Worst is a little strong – but on more than one occasion interviews or meetings have been set up that I haven’t requested. Not an appreciated tactic. Awkward.

PS: What do you want from a PR to help make your life easier?
CM: In the initial email pitch, it would be really great to have a top-line of just a sentence or two summing up the entire proposition. Trawling through reams of biog and jargon to find the hook can be frustrating.

PS: Do you believe PR professionals are rude to journalists?
CM: I find the vast majority of people in business PR brilliant to deal with. Again, the TV industry was a different story…