MEDIA PROFILE: Tom Leonard, media editor, Daily Telegraph - King of cool finds a new throne

Tom Leonard has made a career from writing about showbiz and music for some unlikely publications. He was the first pop music correspondent for the Economist, and covered Oasis for the Daily Telegraph.

Tom Leonard has made a career from writing about showbiz and music

for some unlikely publications. He was the first pop music correspondent

for the Economist, and covered Oasis for the Daily Telegraph.



So, now that he’s shifted to the more worthy role of media editor for

the Daily Telegraph, will he miss all the glitz?



’Not at all,’ he says. ’So many of the people I dealt with on that beat

had huge egos, and that was just the people who worked for the stars.’

As media editor, his role is to oversee the Telegraph’s new media

section, launched this month. It is a single page at the moment, as the

paper is taking a ’suck it and see’ policy towards this new section.

Leonard is therefore keen to make sure it works for the readership.



’We will have to be very accessible for our readers because they are

interested in media but only if it is written for them and not for media

professionals,’ he explains.



The Telegraph reader is likely to follow the fortunes of the BBC, and

especially Radio 4, pretty avidly, Leonard says. The issues of dumbing

down on radio and television will be of some concern to them as

well.



He thinks PR people can help him with his coverage, and he has been

amazed at the number of calls he has received since starting his new

job. ’We had a chat about PR people on the paper last night and we were

pretty evenly divided between the journalists who hated them and those

who didn’t mind them,’ he says. ’I’m pretty sympathetic, because

although loads of the calls are a complete waste of time, you will

occasionally get a decent story. I think they will help our

coverage.’



His first week gives some indication of his plans for that coverage.



There was an interview with Andy Hamilton, one of the writers of Drop

The Dead Donkey and a speculative piece on Andrew Neil’s newspaper

ambitions.



Leonard hopes it is lively enough for the readership and his former

colleagues are sure it will be.



Jeff Postlewaite, who used to work with Leonard on the Evening Standard

and now works at PR consultancy Beer Davies, said Leonard was ’a great

writer who will bring good colour to the role’. He adds: ’One of Tom’s

loveable failings, however, is his complete lack of punctuality.’



Leonard’s lateness is made even more inexcusable, says Postlewaite, by

his close proximity to the Telegraph’s Docklands home. Leonard has

bought a flat in fashionable Shoreditch and cements his cool credentials

when a yo-yo - currently the hippest accessory for the streetwise -

falls out of his charcoal grey, two-piece suit as he reaches for a

pen.



Does he pursue the world of cool in his spare time, then? ’Oh, I’ve got

no hobbies at all,’ he smiles, engagingly. ’I should get some, I

suppose.



I’d like to give writing a novel a try. I used to support Brighton and

Hove Albion when I was younger, as they were the nearest decent team to

Guildford, but I think I know when to give up on a lost cause.’





HIGHLIGHTS

1989: Reporter, London Newspaper Group

1993: Reporter, Even ing Standard

1996: Reporter, Daily Telegraph

1998: Media editor, Daily Telegraph



Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Latest Articles

Analysis: Fishburn chiefs keep eyes on future despite mounting departures

Analysis: Fishburn chiefs keep eyes on future despite mounting departures

Fishburn's management have defended their reinvention of the 23-year-old agency amid industry mutterings, fed by a series of director-level departures, about the direction in which it is going.

Hit or Miss? EasyJet backs Shakespeare Day campaign with world record attempt

Hit or Miss? EasyJet backs Shakespeare Day campaign with world record attempt

EasyJet aimed to break the world record for the highest ever theatrical performance for Shakespeare's 450th birthday yesterday with the Reduced Shakespeare Company performing on a flight from Gatwick to Verona.

Top PRs to gather in Barcelona for inaugural PRWeek Global Congress

Top PRs to gather in Barcelona for inaugural PRWeek Global Congress

Senior executives from IBM, Nestlé, Vedanta, GE, Cargill, Philips and Allianz will be among the speakers at PRWeek's first Global Congress.

Max Clifford trial jury reconvenes with majority verdicts direction

Max Clifford trial jury reconvenes with majority verdicts direction

The jury in the trial of celebrity publicist Max Clifford on 11 charges of indecent assault has reconvened after being told by the judge yesterday afternoon that he will now accept majority verdicts.