What are your feelings as you come into work?
I often cycle to the office, and you can’t dodge London traffic and think about work at the same time. But I find new ideas spring to mind afterwards.
Why do you do this job?
Because I enjoy it. Business is fundamental to our lives and full of big characters and stories. It’s much more exciting than most people think.
As a child I wanted to be…
All sorts of things. A lawyer, a pilot, a vet. All required more application or talent than I had at the time. A lucky escape for the clients, passengers and poorly pooches that never were.
What is the worst time to pitch to you?
The worst time to phone is in the mornings, when we are all on deadline for Management Today’s must-read daily email bulletin.
What is the best time to pitch to you?
You can send me an email any time; short, pithy and clearly expressed ideas are more likely to hit the mark.
What makes a great story for you?
There are many answers because MT covers much ground. Personal stories of adversity, triumph and global domination are always good – if you’re the next Steve Jobs, drop me a line.
What is your view of PR professionals?
We need them as much as they need us. But with something like four PRs to every journalist now, occasionally you have to hide or you would never get anything done.
Do you have a favourite PR person? Why?
If I answer that all my other PR contacts will want to know why it wasn’t them. The ones I like only promise what they can deliver, and have figured out what I will probably want before they press ‘send’.
What one thing gets in the way of you doing your job?
Time, and the leads I miss because there isn’t enough. Could I be more organised? Possibly.
Is there any subject that you find so boring or offensive that you just won’t give it oxygen?
Sometimes the most unpromising base material can yield a speck or two of gold. But enough already with The Apprentice pitches.
What gives you the greatest job satisfaction?
Privileged access to movers and shakers. The little frisson when they tell you something that they probably shouldn’t. Writing it all down afterwards.
The greatest pressure on me is…
Journalism is not for people who don’t like pressure. But the existential challenge for anyone who – like me – grew up in ‘old’ media is to stay on the front foot and remain relevant in the digital era.
What is your management style: shouter, weeper or supportive friend?
Show them how to do it the first time, help them to do it the second time, leave them to do it the third time. If this fails, you may need to revisit your selection procedure.
Which outlet do you most admire for its news coverage and why?
The Financial Times’ expertise and insight is unrivalled, while The Economist is guaranteed to make you think. Twitter is great, but can be distracting.
What’s in your lunch box?
Home-made three bean salad and an apple. Itsu sushi for a treat. What happened to all the three-hour lunches I was promised?
What is your greatest career fear?
The usual – making howlers and/or being sued. But if you don’t get the odd stroppy missive from Sue, Grabbit & Run then you probably aren’t trying hard enough.