Grilled: Nate Lanxon, senior editor at Bloomberg Media, on senior PRs and avoiding the Brits

Every month, PRWeek interrogates a journalist on their likes, dislikes and fears.

Grilled: Nate Lanxon, senior editor at Bloomberg Media, on senior PRs and avoiding the Brits

Describe your feelings as you come into work…
Generally it’s a mix of excitement and concern that I don’t have long enough to finish whichever podcast I’m listening to.

As a child I wanted to be...
A writer or something to do with computers and science. That eventually became a tech and science writer.

What is the worst time to pitch to you?
Any time that involves a telephone. But any other method is fine 24/7.

What is the best time to pitch to you?
24/7 as long as it’s not via a phone or any form of paper.

What makes a great story for you?
Something that someone, somewhere, doesn’t want you to write; and some­thing that could be the basis for either a comic strip or a documentary, but nothing in between.

What is your view of PR professionals?
The best PRs too often take the ‘P’ out of their job title; as soon as they get really good, they’re often seen as too senior to do the public-facing work and delegate to an account executive who lacks the relationships with the journalists. In my experience from this side of the fence, if you’re in PR it’s brilliant when you hold on to the ‘P’ right up to the top of your career.

Do you have a favourite PR person? Why?
I shouldn’t name names. But one gentleman in particular, from Grayling, embodies a great deal of what is good about agency relations: understanding the journalist and publication, no time wasted on pointless mass mail outs, a passion for the subject matter that extends beyond what is written on the brief. He can chat through the intricacies of a pitch and never needs notes or to call a client for clarification. He just gets it.

What one thing gets in the way of you doing your job?
Phone calls; having to eat. I find eating a massive burden on my day.

Is there any subject that you find so boring or offensive that you just won’t give it oxygen?
Anything that arrives with the word ‘Brits’ in the subject line or title. This always means it’s a survey pitch and that always means I ignore it. Nobody ever uses the word ‘Brits’ unless it’s a survey.

What gives you the biggest job satisfaction?
Having a team that wins an award they didn’t ask an awards body to give them.

The greatest pressure on me is…
To deliver deep news and analysis to social audiences with shallow attention spans. It’s a challenge to investigative journalists in particular. But I think that when you appreciate all journalism should be investigative, it becomes a lot easier to compress the word count of a killer story.

What is your management style: shouter, weeper or supportive friend?
Probably a combination of all three.

Which outlet do you most admire for its news coverage and why?
The Economist in particular for its digital output; is it bad to say Wired UK still for its ability to make business and science exciting across demographics? I thought that before I worked there and still think it after leaving.

What is your greatest career fear?
It used to be the fear people would find out how young I was when I started writing professionally or that I skipped school and university to get there. These days I actually include those facts on my CV.

What’s in your lunch box?
A box of tangerines. So cheap and juicy.

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