I did a meet the editors event last night at the plush HQ of PR company MC2. I was alongside a top chap called Tony McDonough from the Liverpool Daily Post. These were 10 of the questions we were asked and my attempts to answer them.
1 Liverpool and Manchester have a history of being in stiff competition, do you think this is still the case now or is it getting better?
It's getting much better. Liverpool and Manchester peacefully co-exist. I'm always amazed at how very different they are. I think Manchester is becoming the London of the North, however. Investement is therefore being sucked out of Blackpool, Lancashire and Leeds towards this incredible success story.
2 We work for a number of small clients and always put them forward for features. We’ve noticed that although our comments are submitted in plenty of time and are of excellent quality, they usually get bumped out of the feature in favour for the bigger competitors. Can you explain why this happens and also, how to avoid it in the future?
We don't bump out small companies because they're small, but small companies can be cautious.
3 What sort of stories do you get really excited about?
Frauds, overnights successes, political intrigue, hostile takeovers.
4 What makes a good interviewee?
Someone who is prepared to say the unothodox, or the different.
5 Have you ever considered turning to the ‘dark side’ and becoming a PR?
No. But I do PR for Insider all the time.
6 What are your pet hates?
I don't hate anything, I'm a Christian. But London PRs asking if we cover Middlesbrough in North West Business Insider are a little bit irritating.
7 Will the BBC move to Manchester be great news for the media in the region?
I hope so, but I fear not. They are not moving any centres of commissioing power and only one network - Radio 5 - which is the most regionally friendly of them all. I think financial services is a much more important economic success for Manchester.
8 What is the one thing that a PR can do to immediately grab your attention?
Say they've got an exclusive story with unique access just for us.
9 What are the things they do that immediately put you off using their clients?
I never blank a PR company, but you detect trends. Missed opportunities frustrate. We constantly seek stories from successful businesses - metal bashers from Bacup - who only seem to want to talk about what they did on Red Nose Day.
10 Who is the most interesting person you have ever interviewed and why?
In the last year the most interesting people I interviewed were Terry Matthews and Brian Kennedy. They just don't seem to want to stop, and I wanted to find out why.