This month we’re talking to Jane Hamilton, editor of Employment and Cashflow at The Sun.
1. Describe your typical day
I start around 8.30am reading through all the papers to see what the rivals are doing. Around 9.30am, I’ll start at the computer either filing listlines for that day, filing my two weekly columns (Sunemployment and Cashflow), or hunting down stories through contacts and PRs.
I try to reserve Fridays for contact meetings but the rest of the week is solid work until around 5pm, as I have two kids to deal with! If it’s a particularly busy day, I will work again from around 8pm to midnight.
2. How important is social media in sourcing stories?
It can be good to gauge the public mood but it tends to give more weight to those who shout loudest rather than what the ‘silent majority’ feels, so you need to be mindful it can skew some stories.
I don’t like being pitched to on Twitter as it lets others see what you are working on, which for a tabloid journo, when you rely heavily on exclusives, isn’t good. Email is best for pitching as unlike social media, you can guarantee I will see it and it’s private.
3. What’s the most memorable pitch you’ve received lately, why was it so good/bad?
I was pitched a story that was already in the paper that day written by the person who sits next to me – who was then pitched a story by the same PR which I had already written in the paper. The words ‘epic fail’ spring to mind.
4. How do you think PR’s should pitch to nationals?
It entirely depends on the title, what the piece is for and how well you know the journo. The best tips are be honest – if it’s been elsewhere or you are offering to other people then let us know this. Be early – pitch before 10am at the very latest for a story that day.
Be clear – have all the info to hand and know the story. It infuriates journos when you have to go away and look up info rather than have it to hand. Don’t be a pain – please don’t keep ringing on the mobile and landline within minutes of sending a story. We can get up to 300 pitches a day and we don’t have time to talk them through. If it’s good, we will come back to you.
5. What’s the next big news for employment?
It will be fascinating to see if the private sector can continue to create jobs in the face of the double dip downturn. People are claiming it doesn’t add up but the world of work is rapidly changing with more people taking several part-time jobs often in different industries rather than one full-time one.
The career ladder is now more a career tree with different branches and a myriad of more possibility. It’s frightening to some people but anyone who embraces will reap the rewards.