02 August 2007

When two and two makes 3...

I've just seen the PRWeak story about Guy Middleton - managing editor of Mobile magazine - being appointed as head of corporate communications at 3. As the story succinctly puts it:

"He has worked in tech and business journalism for ten years, but has no PR or ­comms experience."

I've got more than a decade's technology PR experience...what do you reckon the chances are of my being appointed managing editor of, say, Computing?

Slim, I reckon.

Does that devalue the job of PR? Or should we be proud that the industry has attracted a senior journalist to its ranks?

28 comments:

Andrew Smith said...

Good luck to him - though history suggests he will have his work cut out. Managing an internal PR dept for a big corporate like 3 is a very different beast to being managing editor of a mag.

Will be interesting to see if he stays the course.

artichoke said...

Ah another good old 'poacher turned gamekeeper' scenario. Fair play to the guy - years of toil and thankless (ie low paid), graft as a hack, finally rewarded with a fat PR salary.

I'd jump ship and work with butt sniffers for a load of cash and benefits if I had the chance. Although tearing strips off the AE's that ring me every morning is just so much fun...

Anonymous said...

Andrew - he's not managing the department. He reports into ex-Microsoft boss Hugh Davies. He's doing corporate comms e.g. speaking to journos and analysts about corporate stuff. Maybe an ex-journo would be good at that?

Anonymous said...

Yes, good luck to Guy but what about the real news in PR Week today? That 'there is a need for good PR firms with really solid tech experience in London' - guess we should all pack up and go home...

a-non-mouse said...

artichoke - interesting pseudonym.

Is that because you are complex and have many layers, or because you're a fucking boring vegetable that is only fun if chargrilled?

Anonymous said...

Always astounds me that after years of repeating how little PR folk understand the job of a journalist, journalists all seem to think that they will be able to do PR.

Anonymous said...

"Middleton said: ‘3 remains the challenger in the industry. It’s an exciting time.’

Good to see he knows the basics... how to provide a stimulating and well structured quote....

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 2.19 - hit the nail on the head mate. All a London agency has to offer that is different from any other agency is an over-inflated monthly fee - you've heard of the global village right? Location means diddly-shit, substance and ability are the only things that matter.

Anonymous said...

a-non-mouse - interesting pseudonym.

Is that because you are small but difficult to define, or because you're overly pleased with your clever new moniker which you think says 'look at me, I am Hermes God of language, manipulator of words for comic end', but actually says 'I'm not a mouse, but I may still defecate in your larder'.

artichoke said...

>>"artichoke - interesting pseudonym.

Is that because you are complex and have many layers, or because you're a fucking boring vegetable that is only fun if chargrilled?"<<

I'm a miserable boring bastard I'm afraid...

;-)

....the world's leading.... said...

"Location means diddly-shit, substance and ability are the only things that matter"

If only that were true. It's not. If it was, house prices would be the same across the country. In fact they'd be more expensive in the sticks because - as we're often told - the air's cleaner there. But they're not, and it's due to supply and demand. Location, I'm afraid, does matter.

The vast majority of client companies (particularly measured by annual fees) are based in the south-east. Almost without exception they will choose a PR agency that's also based in the south-east. It stands to reason - you don't want your team travelling the length of the country to meet you.

And most of the tech press is London/South-East based too - which helps with relationship-building.

In fact the PRWeak quote - "there is a need for good PR firms with really solid tech experience in London" - surely points to the fact that clients still prefer to engage with London-based agencies? They just want to make sure they're of the best quality.

Anonymous said...

Fair-cop TWL - location does matter when it comes to property prices. But many an 'A-list' London agency has lost plenty of clients to the rural PR bumpkins.

Funny how everything not in London is considered rural, or 'in the sticks' - as if London were the only clearing in an otherwise forest covered country? - I'm sure someone will make that into an analogy of sorts.

Anonymous said...

It strikes me as an odd appointment. 3's major problem is that it has a terrible reputation amongst consumers, something it must correct if it is ever to compete with the four majors.

Don't get me wrong, I like Guy and I think he did a good job at Mobile but his experience is in the channel, mostly covering the enterprise market - which is so far removed from the needs of the business.

3's challenge is to convince the glossies and consumer affairs correspondents, i fail to understand what Guy's 'value add' is in this environment.

Andrew Smith said...

Anon@2.11

PR Week says he will be responsible for developing 3’s proactive comms programme (as opposed to its reactive comms programme)

And *managing the press office*.

The press office is a department. Which he will manage.

Yes, that will include preparing corporate PR material and media relations - but I can't believe for a minute that's all he will have to do. He's going to have to manage people, demonstrate how he is justifying his salary to the higher ups.

I don't doubt he's had to manage people before - but managing journalists and managing a team of in-house PR people is v. different. And given its a big corporate like 3 he'll be under pressure to demonstrate his value add.

As I said, good luck to him - I don't envy him.

Muttley said...

I give him three months

a-non-mouse said...

Anon 2.55 - don't read in to it so much. It's just a play on words (albeit a crap one). But it is very accurate, as I am not a mouse. I though Hermes was the God of fancy over-priced scarves?

Anonymous said...

Uhm - I wasn't aware 3 had a big in-house PR team. There's Hugh (his boss), Rachel (his counterpart in Ireland) and maybe one or two other people. 3 is owned by Hutchison Whampoa - they have a very big inhouse PR team in Hong Kong. He might have to manage their PR agencies though, agreed on that point.

Sorry, just think everyone is getting this all a bit out of context.

Still think TWL's first point about would it work the other way around is a very fair point

Anonymous said...

It's an interesting one, and no mistake. There have been a slew of in-house jobs recently where the front-runners have been tech journalists. I really see the value in having that level of media experience in the business but it strikes me that an in-house PR role is so much more management and internal reporting than media relations - that's what the agencies are for, surely. Having said that, if he's going to be in charge of a press office, the very least he'll be able to offer is some valuable advice about the best way to deal with media. It's a great move for Guy - good on him, I say.

Anonymous said...

Artichoke - I'd hardly say you were boring - you know a good rack when you see one (blonde Berliner in the prev. post) ;-)

EKE said...

Being a big corporate like 3 doesn't necessarily mean you have a big in-house PR department. Some much larger corporates have one dinner lady in-house giving direction. That's why so many agencies end up looking like tripe - it's down to the dinner ladies on the inside...

Anonymous said...

It will be different, but I reckon Guy's up to it otherwise I wouldn't have hired him. He has a habit of saying it like it is from his POV which is refreshing as you will all know. Long may he stay like that and long may we be able to stomach it and act on it. I am looking forward to seeing how he copes with integrating his channel knowledge with some of the more consumer fun stuff we have in store for him! A challenge I am sure he'll relish too.
Hugh (the ex-Microsoft one)

Max Cooter said...

Good for Guy. I gave him his first job in tech journalism; he was a good journalist on Network Week and he's gone on to be a good editor. Don't underestimate him - i think he'll do a cracking job.

Anonymous said...

Nice to see AMD are a little more switched on... http://www.theinquirer.net/?article=41379

Big loss for H&K though - and embarrassing to admit to Intel I'd bet.

Anonymous said...

Two words "Simon Rockman", ex journo and now mayor of london, no sorry that should be "Creative Experience Director" at Motorola, no sorry I'm wrong, that IS MAYOR OF LONDON http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JH9fmqVwinI

Artichoke said...

>>"Artichoke - I'd hardly say you were boring - you know a good rack when you see one (blonde Berliner in the prev. post) ;-)"<<

A PR with a pulse. God bless you sir!

SpiderJ said...

V. late to this - on hols at the moment.

I spoke to Guy before he got the job and while he seemed very keen I think he might be in for a bit of a shock.

Journos probably find the translation to an agency the easiest - it is, as has been pointed out, more like poacher turned gamekeeper. Dealing with press releases, selling in stories, etc.

But moving in-house really is a different kettle of fish. It's much less about creating stories and so much more about having to navigate the various different fiefdoms - the Marketing Dept, the HR Dept, the Finance Dept, etc. Then there's having to manage the egos of senior management who all want to have their profile raised with the media (except for the one exec who you WANT to talk to the press and he/she is often too busy).

On top of that, at 3 (as with most of the other operators) - he's going to have to battle with the head office - who speak a different language, have a different culture, etc. And that's all before he even does a single press call.

But good luck to him - Guy's a good bloke and I think he'll muddle through.

Anonymous said...

Having worked with Guy as a journo and then hired him as a freelancer to work with a client when i moved into PR, all i can say is welcome aboard the PR boat. Won't be going to half as many parties now though...

Andrew Smith said...

Simon Rockman = Head of Requirements at Sony Ericsson