MEET THE MEDIA: MARK WILLIAMS
Mark Williams, news editor, C&IT
What is the hallmark of a strong relationship with a PR?
The best PRs are the ones who aren’t emailing me every day with all sorts of press releases. They choose what to send me and I’m not just on big list of people who get sent multiple emails a week whether they are relevant or not. Relevance is key. When I was a staff writer on FS magazine, I got sent all sorts of weird press releases, which it was suggested we might be interested in for the magazine. I remember being asked if we would like to ‘review’ a Lego model of a car. How was that going to work? It was a magazine for adults and I don’t know of any magazines that review Lego toys. (I’m sure there are some out there though!) After a while you start to preempt emails from certain people that pop into your inbox are going to be of interest or of no use at all.
How has the way you interact with PRs changed due to technology?
I’ve only been a journo for about four or five years so I’d say it hasn’t really changed all that much. Most of my contact with PRs is over phone or email, with the odd coffee here and there.
What qualities do you most value in PRs?
An understanding of the kind of news we publish on C&IT magazine or at least the willingness to find out if they’re unsure. I’m always happy to talk on the phone and explain the kind of stuff that’s most likely to float my boat. Also, journos tend to get a lot of emails each day, so it’s often the case that we can only reply to the ones that we want to do something with. It’s not us being rude, it’s just that we don’t have time to reply to everything. Multiple follow-up emails aren’t going to make me reconsider the story. Sometimes you hit the bullseye and sometimes you miss the board completely.
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