Grilled: Michael Sawh, editor, Wareable

When he's not testing out the latest fitness trackers or watching Manchester United, you can find this tech editor rustling up some grub in the kitchen...

Grilled: Michael Sawh, editor, Wareable

Why do you do this job?
I love what I get to write about. It’s been a while since I’ve been able to say that and mean it. It’s a really exciting time for wearable and smart home technology, especially as it begins to filter into health, fitness and fashion. I’m constantly blown away by the innovation that’s happening right now.

As a child I wanted to be…
A chef. I loved cooking (and still do) but then I think I watched a documentary where someone was receiving a Gordon Ramsay-style dressing down and I reconsidered that career path. My mum and dad bought me a typewriter and I used to just write random stories at the weekends. That’s when I turned my attention to being a writer.

What is the worst time to pitch to you?
I can be flagging later in the day. Now that we have a US editor in place though, I’m always looking at anything they can pick up when we clock off.

What is the best time to pitch to you?
Any time is a good time. Email is usually the best option.

What makes a great story for you?
Something that could be genuinely life-changing or speaking to an individual or company with a great story to tell. We will always make time to talk to the people behind the tech we’re writing about.

What is your view of PR professionals?
There’s a certain group most tech journalists and PRs will be familiar with that has a habit of hammering the job PRs do and that really disappoints me. There’s good and bad in all industries and I definitely believe there’s more good. What does irritate me slightly is where someone hasn’t taken the time to spend a few minutes looking at the site before pitching a story.

Do you have a favourite PR person? Why?
Tech PR is blessed with a lot of great people who make my job so much easier. There’s someone I don’t work with as much now simply because their clients don’t fall into the Ware­able remit. I won’t name names but they now work at Starscream Communications. I knew they would only get in contact if it was worth my while. At Wareable, I’ve had to deal with more US-based PRs and have been thoroughly impressed with their response.

What one thing gets in the way of you doing your job?
Running. I need to run at least every couple of days. I’ve got slightly addicted over the past few years. Thankfully, my job now involves testing things that require going out running so it’s worked out nicely.

Is there any subject that you find so boring or offensive that you just won’t give it oxygen?
I hate seeing the phrase ‘game changer’ in an email. There’s a high probability that it’s not a game changer and the email will swiftly end up being moved to the trash.

What gives you the greatest satisfaction in your job?
Hearing people in the industry and our contributors saying how much they love the site. I know some might say that to butter us up, but when the compliments are as specific as telling us that they read one of our features on the way to work the other day, that’s better than any award.

What is the greatest pressure on you?
To keep the original, interesting news and features flowing on a regular basis. Thankfully I have a supportive team that means the pressure doesn’t weigh heavily on my shoulders and I think Wareable continues to deliver on that promise.

What is your management style: shouter, weeper or supportive friend?
I think anyone who has worked with me will know I’m definitely not going to give anyone the hairdryer treatment. The supportive friend is the more likely approach. I don’t believe shouting will ever get you the results you’d hope for.

Which outlet do you most admire for its news coverage and why?
Looking outside of the tech world, I really like what Vice is doing with its news coverage. Numerous so called ‘experts’ have told me that nobody wants to watch long videos, but some of the documentary stuff Vice has done recently has been top notch.

What’s in your lunch box?
Chopped-up beetroot with feta cheese. Dwight Schrute from the US Office called it. Beets rule.

What is your greatest career fear?
Not being able to repay the faith and trust that every employer has put in me to build on the great work they’ve already done. 

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