The Times' home editor Jeremy Griffin talks pub singers, PR polls and pooper scoopers

Jeremy Griffin: "Without wanting to sound like a life coach, I try to start each day thinking anything is possible."
Jeremy Griffin: "Without wanting to sound like a life coach, I try to start each day thinking anything is possible."

How do you feel when you come into work?

If I know that I have the start of a strong news list, I'll be annoyingly cocky. If I feel that we're underpowered I'll just be annoying, and everyone else soon knows about it.

Without wanting to sound like a life coach, I try to start each day thinking that anything is possible and that, ultimately, I'm going to help The Times produce a better paper than its rivals.

What makes a great story?

It might be the result of a particularly brave and unique piece of reporting, such as the type we've seen at The Times from Anthony Loyd in Syria.

Or it might be the result of painstaking investigations, like our tax avoidance and child grooming exposes.

All sorts of stories are often referred to as great - it doesn't have to be something that changes the world, but it has to set you apart or determine the agenda of your rivals.

What is the greatest pressure on you?

Time and the editor. They wait for no man.

What is your view of PR professionals?

PR people perform an important job for clients. I particularly like those who come up with newsworthy methods of getting their messages across.

I've noticed a lot are into the social trend game these days, commissioning polls on coffee drinking or bedroom habits or the like. They can be good when they come off, though it always feels a guilty pleasure when I put one on the schedule.

What was the biggest non-story of the last month?

I refer you to The Guardian.

What's your management style?

Stab you in the front, kick you up the arse. Luckily I don't need to do a huge amount of either.

What is the most memorable headline?

Of mine? 'Cock-a-hoop for the poop scoop'. It was in the Stroud News and Journal 20 years ago, on a story about the success of a local anti-dog fouling scheme. I have since stopped writing headlines.

What is the best piece of journalistic advice in your opinion?

Don't look at the clock.

What would you be if you were not a news editor?

A pub singer.

From whom have you learned the most?

Alison Fawcett (Stroud News and Journal), Ian Dowell (Birmingham Evening Mail), Alex Butler (The Sunday Times), Keith Blackmore (The Times). Plus my current editor (natch) and anyone else I ever work for. If, indeed, I do ever work again.

What did you want to be as a child?

Doctor Who. I fancied Sarah Jane Smith.

In five years' time I will be ...

Happy.

What's in your lunch box?

I barely have a box, let alone one with lunch in it.

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