What makes a great Bookseller front page story?
It will shock, surprise and intrigue. We only have space for two stories, so we often try to balance a pure trade story -for example, shops shutting - with a people story. Front pages can range from dull-but-important stories to Russell Brand's next book.
What is your biggest PR pet peeve?
There are only two major PR outfits in the book trade, Midas and Colman Getty, and both are exceptionally well-informed and organised. The Bookseller is thankfully not on the radar of a lot of the corporate PROs I used to have to deal with when I edited Retail Week. Thank God, because some of the big agencies seem stuffed full of airhead Sloanes paid to obstruct you.
Any amusing anecdotes from your years in trade journalism?
I answered the phone while editing Retail Week to Philip Green, complaining about a story, and his first two words were 'you c***'. Weirdly, I found his refreshing honesty a relief after some of the passive-aggressive nonsense you get from City PROs.
What are your media must-haves?
On TV, Time Team, You've Been Framed, BBC's Ten O'Clock News, Channel 4 News and Match of the Day. I listen to the Today Programme. I read Private Eye, The Week, Publishers Weekly, Prospect, TLS, The Spectator, Marketing and Retail Week. I get The Guardian, Daily Telegraph, Evening Standard and The Sunday Times.
Are you keeping up with web 2.0, social media and blogs?
I'm a sporadic blogger on The Bookseller's site. I do have a toe in the water on Facebook, but I am already bored by the entire concept. Mind you, I can never work out whether I am five years ahead of everyone else or five years behind.
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