Media Analysis: Features hold key to Telegraph slots

As the Telegraph Group welcomes Guy Black as its comms chief, Sarah Robertson asks what makes it into Britain's biggest selling daily broadsheet.

The Telegraph Group has had a turbulent time since being acquired by the Barclay brothers a year ago. It has made 90 journalists redundant, most recently ending Dominic Lawson's decade-long editorship of the Sunday paper to make way for Sarah Sands.

So the hire of Michael Howard's press secretary, Guy Black, to bolster the publisher's comms (PRWeek, 24 June) is timely.

The Daily Telegraph remains the most Conservative-leaning of the broadsheet dailies. Its circulation continues to fall - from 1,004,369 in May 2002 to 915,711 in May 2005. But the boundaries of a 'typical Telegraph story' have become blurred as the paper struggles to generate a younger audience and stem the readership exodus, according to Dotti Irving, CEO of specialist arts agency Colman Getty, which regularly works with Telegraph correspondents.

'It used to be clear what would make it into The Daily Telegraph, but the range of topics that it covers has widened. It is talking to a younger audience and is less right-wing,' she says.

The editorial stance of its business pages, overseen by stalwart City editor Neil Collins, is bolder than its rivals, well argued and non-partisan, according to Edelman executive director Stephen Benzikie.

Contemporary feel

But it is the daily features section in the main body of the paper that promises the widest array of opportunities for positive coverage. While it continues to be perceived as the 'older person's paper', its features cover fashion, drugs and the environment, and have a younger, more contemporary feel than one might expect.

Monday's paper carries a Q&A section on consumer issues, while the health and wellbeing sections run on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Subjects vary from high heels to complementary medicine and cancers. 'Using case studies is vital, as are photographs,' says Weber Shandwick account manager Liz Littlechild. 'The health editor will use celebrity-associated stories, but they have to be relevant to everyday life

An art section appears daily, while fashion bags a spot on Mondays and Fridays, with a style section on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Lindley Baptiste, managing director of fashion specialist Kudos, says: 'Exclusivity always works with The Daily Telegraph, be it pictures or an interview. Fashion with a topical spin - such as red-carpet pictures - encourages reporters to talk about who did the hair or clothes, which is a good opportunity for PROs.'

Baptiste adds that high-street retailers have a far better chance of getting coverage now than in previous years when journalists would have sniffed at such stories. Comparing high-street with designer fashion is now common.

Getting products and messages across to columnists is also a worthy tactic, with contributors including Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman, former Observer Magazine editor Justine Picardie and author Sophie Kinsella.

Dedicated reporting

Education PROs should turn their attention to Wednesday's feature section, which offers a dedicated page.

Thursday's edition devotes three pages to music and, as most of its competitors cover music on a Friday, its coverage is worth chasing, says The Outside Organisation head of corporate Jonathan Morrish.

'The Daily Telegraph is credible and visible,' he says. 'Music correspondents are approachable and always open to a different type of story, so it's easy to bounce ideas off them.' He adds that 'The Perfect Playlist' is great for PROs and has introduced many readers to the joys of downloading music.

Musicians from all genres should approach the paper, providing they are not unknown artists without recorded material, says pop correspondent Neil McCormick, who leads the section with his column. He says he wants artists' biographies, release dates for forthcoming material and reviews by other publications when PROs send in samples.

Legal PROs get their opportunity on Thursdays when legal editor Joshua Rosenberg manages a page, which carries a feature, a diary section called 'Brief Encounters', and law reports.

Friday's film section contains reviews and interviews, a top ten film list and a 'Must-have Movie' section, reviewing films that are not current.

The Saturday paper boasts a magazine and sections on travel, motoring, money, property, gardening, arts and book reviews.

Despite The Daily Telegraph's circulation worries, it still remains top of the broadsheet league. PROs would be wise to familiarise themselves with the paper's sections and reporters.

TELEGRAPH EDITORIAL CONTACTS

Email firstname.surname@telegraph.co.uk; Switchboard 020 7538 5000

Editor Martin Newland News editor Richard Preston

Features editor Rachel Simhon Business editor Neil Collins

Sports editor Keith Perry Health editor Georgina Cover

Legal editor Joshua Rosenberg Education editor John Clare

Film editor Sukhdev Sandhu Arts editor Sarah Crompton

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