Once upon a time, the South Wales Evening Post presided over its circulation area of Swansea, Neath, Port Talbot and Carmarthenshire from a Norman castle in the middle of Swansea city centre.
‘The paper had to move out in the 1960s because when they turned the presses on, bits of the castle started falling off,’ laughs Spencer Feeney, editor of the newspaper. ‘The castle is still there – but we had to move. At the moment we’re in the heart of the city, which is a great advantage, and we have satellite offices in Llane-lli and Carmarthen.’
With a circulation of more than 51,000, the paper is a key target for PROs in the area.
Feeney says he is very open to PR pitches but has one piece of advice: check your release relates to South Wales. ‘If it is out of our area, we simply won’t cover it,’ he warns.
There are plenty of opportunities to pitch stories and features in the paper, which publishes daily Monday to Saturday and includes sections throughout the week on business, fashion and shopping. It also has a section looking ahead to the weekend, which comes out on a Thursday. ‘These days the weekend starts on a Thursday rather than a Saturday – well it certainly does here,’ explains Feeney. There is also an ‘It’s Saturday’ section which features travel, gardening, food and drink and TV listings.
As well as its extensive lifestyle coverage, The Post has a strong campaigning ethos.
Recent successes include a campaign against closure of Swansea’s brain surgery unit, after the Welsh Assembly Government released plans to centralise all brain surgery for South Wales in Cardiff.
‘The plan has now been shelved and we have been assured the service here won’t be shut down,’ says Feeney. ‘The paper is very influential in this area and politicians pay a lot of attention to what people are saying in it.’
Natasha Fulford, head of PR at Swansea-based MGB PR, agrees: ‘The Post is very much regarded as gospel in the area. As long as stories are relevant to its circulation area, then journalists are willing to consider most things and will give you a straight answer from the outset on whether they are interested in covering it.’
Claire Meal, a PR consultant based in Llanelli, adds: ‘If The Post team likes a story you pitch in, and you prove you can work with them, then the editorial team becomes easy to work with. They are also happy to take a mix of human interest and more serious stories.’
The paper also has a good relationship with local public sector bodies. Patrick Fletcher, head of news at Swansea Council, says he regularly has ‘frank and friendly discussions’ about story ideas and issues. ‘As a result, the council is treated with fairness and accuracy,’ says Fletcher.
Cover price 40 pence
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Spotlight on a story The Eden Project: maximising PR effort to ensure visitors all year round
The Eden Project, home to the world’s largest greenhouses, is located in a former china clay pit in Cornwall. The project, which opened in 2001, became instantly recognisable for its distinctive geodesic domes, containing plants from tropical and temperate climates. It also has an extensive outdoor area
of hardier flora.
Originally designed to attract about 700,000 visitors a year, the project regularly pulls in well over one million visitors. The media relations team’s goal is to keep the public informed about a wide-ranging programme of events as well as the environmental and educational ethos that underpins everything the project does. Two key areas of focus for Eden are spring’s Sexy Green Car Show, the world’s first eco-motor show, and the Eden Sessions summer music and comedy programme, with coverage from the latter reaching nearly a million readers between April and July.
To keep the programme on track, the press team uses Durrants evaluation tools to ensure about 75 per cent of coverage comes from the regional press – thereby driving repeat visits. The team also knows it is getting a mix of national and consumer coverage to appeal to potential visitors from across the UK and beyond.
Top local businesses DVLA, Admiral, Somerfield
The DVLA (pictured), based in Swansea, employs 5,000 people. It made headlines recently when insiders claimed bosses were told to find £35m to balance the books. The agency neither confirmed nor denied this.
Press office 01792 782318
Cardiff-based Admiral Insurance, Wales’ only blue-chip company, was added to the FTSE 100 index of the UK’s leading shares earlier this year. Admiral employs 1,541 people in Cardiff, including its price comparison website confused.com, and a further 1,094 in Swansea. It recently announced it would be creating 100 more jobs in Cardiff and open its first office in Newport, which will eventually employ more than 400 people.
Press office 0871 882 8282
The Environment Agency is building a new £10m national head office in central Bristol and will be relocating up to 1,000 staff.
The agency wants to consolidate its two current offices and says the move is best for its environmental criteria. The move could be completed by 2010.
Press office 08708 506506
The Co-operative has just had a £1.6bn takeover of Bristol-based supermarket Somerfield approved. Somerfield has a 3.9 per cent share of the market and 800 stores nationwide.
As part of the deal, the Co-op will have to offload at least 126 stores to address competition concerns, and doubts have been cast over the future of the 300 staff who work at the Somerfield headquarters.
Bristol City Council is also negotiating a deal to take over space in the Somerfield HQ for up to 200 of its own staff.
Press office 0117 935 6347
Contact 02920 223333
Editor Alan Edmunds
Bristol Evening Post
Contact 0117 934 3000
Editor Mike Norton
Radio news editor Geoff Williams
TV daily news programme Wales Today
Assistant editor (Bristol) Dawn Trevett
TV daily news programme Points West
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Real Radio Wales – 105-106fm
Head of news Gareth Setter
Key presenters Angela Jay and
Tony Wright (breakfast show),
Dave Brookes (drivetime),
Dave Bowen (weekend breakfast).
Head of news Philip Hemfey
Head of news Liz Hannam
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Big ideas – bigger clients
Bristol-based Bray Leino and Working Word PR in Cardiff are dreaming of expansion
With a client list including Wrigley’s and Water Aid, Bristol-based Bray Leino is up there with the big boys in the world of PR.
The agency scooped the PRWeek best consumer campaign award in 2007 and MD Roberta Fuke says she has been ‘taking advantage’ of that accolade in 2008.
‘Our plan has been to move on to bigger opportunities and brands,’ she says. ‘Although we are based in Bristol, our client work is national and I like to think we can compete with London-based consultancies.’
This year the agency’s work has included a high-profile campaign for Wrigley’s, which began with a private party for fashion designer Henry Holland, attended by a number of celebrities including supermodel de jour Agyness Deyn, and made the cover of Vogue.com.
Fuke says the agency is building up a strong ethical portfolio, with work for Ecover, People Tree and green electricity company Ecotricity. ‘We’ve done a lot of thought leadership work, including running an ethical fashion forum,’ says Fuke. ‘From a client point of view, and going forward into difficult economic times, partnering with relevant, complementary but non-competitive others, is a real help.’
Bray Leino, which has a 30-strong team, has grown around 20 per cent year-on-year in the past six years. Fuke says 2009 will be more of a challenge and is hoping for 15 per cent growth. ‘There are a couple of really big things on the horizon that will make a substantial difference if they come off. We do a lot of new media work already, but we will be bringing digital work into the heart of the business.’
She adds: ‘I would like to work with a bigger environmental and ethical client and I would also like to do a bit on food and drink, possibly functional foods, such as bread with added Omega 3. There is a whole raft of things people are being asked to believe and consumers are becoming confused and concerned. Going back to reliable information is important.’
At a glance
Three best campaigns of 2008 Wrigley’s Get A Little Closer; WIRSPA; Ecover Fashion Forum
Significant hires in 2008 Bray Leino has promoted a lot of people internally this year, so hires have been at account manager level and include Melita Swan, Caroline Charles and Gemma Boyland
Predicted fee income for 2008 £1.9m
Plans for the next 12 months Move into extra office space and expand the team, and do work that makes the agency famous and the client famous – for all the right reasons
Working Word PR
Working Word PR is packing its bags and moving to the centre of Cardiff. The agency is set to expand and capitalise on its recent success at the CIPR PRide awards for Wales, where it was named outstanding PR consultancy for 2008 and scooped gold awards for three campaigns.
‘A lot of hard work has gone on here in the past year and morale is very good as a result,’ says Eoghan Mortell, MD of the 13-strong agency. The plans for expansion predate the current credit crunch but Mortell says although growth may not be as quick as initially hoped, he is still confident.
‘So far people have been resisting pressure to reduce PR budgets,’ he says. ‘Conventional wisdom is that PR gives good value in times of recession.’
The agency, which counts the Welsh Assembly Government among its clients, is certainly geared up for success. This year it appointed its first ever head of PR in the form of Fiona Anderson, formerly of Golley Slater. ‘I had been de facto head of PR previously but we felt we needed someone focused specifically in that role,’ says Mortell.
Working Word is particularly strong in the public sector. As well as the government, its clients include Working Links Wales, the Open College Network Wales and Pathway Care UK.
‘We currently do a lot of work in the realms of education and that brings us into contact with schools and initiatives targeting children, and organisations that offer adult classes and training,’ says Mortell.
One of the agency’s award-winning campaigns this year was called Checkout Cymraeg, for the Welsh Assembly Government, where people were encouraged to speak Welsh at supermarket checkouts. The aim was to get people to sign up for courses in the Welsh language.
A second high-profile campaign for the Government saw the agency team up with Welsh singing star Charlotte Church to promote breastfeeding, securing headlines in both Welsh and UK-wide media.
At a glance
Three best campaigns of 2008 Welsh Assembly Government Checkout Cymraeg; Axia Manufacturing Solutions B2B campaign; Sterling Group Helping People Change Lives
Significant hires Appointed Fiona Anderson as head of PR, and Mari Waddington, previously of Freshwater PR, as account director
Predicted fee income for 2008 £700,000
Plans for the next 12 months Increase healthcare portfolio and develop a presence in the leisure and tourism sector; expand the agency