FT Digital Business editor...curious...
We moseyed along to Peter "Fullrun" Kirwan's little event last night excited, along with all the other kids (Christ, we felt so old...) to see Peter Whitehead open his kimono and give us an insight into what makes the editor of the FT Digital Business tick.
It was...well...curious. Kirwan introduced Whitehead as "the man who never answers his phone" which Whitehead explained away by saying that because the supplement is not news driven, he doesn’t see the need to take phone calls from PRs. He wants to be e-mailed with ideas. Preferably based on statistically valid research
Whitehead then shared his views on some of the hacks he uses, like Mary Branscombe: "when she remembers who she's writing for, her copy's OK" and Danny Bradbury: "based on the Pacific North West, but still seems to interview too many people based in London." Chris Nuttall also got a ticking off for filing copy that began with lines from a poem about a train journey from Hull to London: "why does our San Francisco-based reporter who is supposed to be covering all the hot news from Silicon Valley begin a story with reference to places in England that will have no meaning for an international readership?"
He stressed the FT’s policy on accepting hospitality, in that they can’t accept foreign press trips. Invites to rugby matches at Twickenham seem to be acceptable, however, as Firefly took him to the England v France game on Sunday on behalf of client Adobe; though he cheerfully admitted he’s never written or commissioned a piece that mentions Adobe, and there is no increase in the likelihood that he will do so now…still, "it was good for building relationships..." and seeing the rugby for free, of course.
Interestingly, Whitehead didn’t seem to have much idea as to what his readership thinks of the supplement. He said that they had carried out surveys in the past – but these were “self-selecting” i.e. didn’t really represent the overall readership...he freely admitted he really hasn’t a clue as to whether or nor readers find the content useful or helpful.
I'll freely admit that I haven't a clue whether I found the content of last night's event useful or helpful. Did you?