Introducing is our new series in interviews with senior advisers across the FleishmanHillard Fishburn business who help add value to our services with their skills, knowledge and experience. In our first article we chat to Head of News, Peter Meikle.
Pete, what does your role as Head of News entail?
There are four main bits to my job…
- Working closely with clients to shape their stories to grab media attention and get coverage, whether that’s in broadcast, print or online.
- Building FHF’s media connections by regularly bringing in some of Britain’s most senior journalists to meet colleagues and clients and organising behind-the-scenes visits to the country’s biggest media organisations.
- Leading high-level media training sessions with CEOs and top executives from a wide range of global companies.
- Instilling a news culture across FHF by leading daily news meetings, making sure our teams are continually building professional relationships with journalists, and training them to tell and sell our clients stories with increasing success.
What’s your background, how did you get to be Head of News?
I’ve worked as a TV news journalist for 23 years in senior roles at GMTV, Daybreak, ITV News, and Channel 4 News. I joined the world of comms as a Head of News at the beginning of 2015, excited by the opportunity of using my experience in new ways.
What did the newsroom teach you about the PR industry?
That it’s a tough gig and a fine art and you need to prepare well before pitching. My time running news desks showed me just how hard it is for PRs to achieve success in getting media coverage. The PRs who actually watched the programme they were pitching to and had genuinely eye-catching, newsworthy top-lines and decent case studies were the ones who sometimes got their tales told on the telly.
I also learned that PRs could avoid a volley of news editor invective by not calling to ask for a detailed breakdown of why their story wasn’t of interest when it failed to achieve pick-up!
Whats your biggest tip to new clients?
To get the media to take interest in you, you must be interesting. Dig deep and find out what is unique and newsworthy about your company. And if you want to get your voice heard, be prepared to be controversial and give a strong point of view. Talk about the big issues of the day rather than just your company’s results.
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January 21, 2021