Bite Sized Covid Media Tips: The Business Desk

The media is grappling with the coronavirus pandemic in much the same way every business is, with reporters and editorial teams working remotely and many on furlough. Like every business, they have had to make changes too, and Volpa has been keeping up to date with those changes as they have happened.

It is still possible to generate media coverage at this time, even in the pandemic landscape (read our cunningly good guide to generating press coverage in a pandemic if you want to know more on how). Here’s just a bite sized briefing from a recent webinar we attended with Richard Fletcher, Business Editor at The Times, on what changes the paper has made since the crisis began and what kind of stories they are looking for now.

Richard’s Top Ten Tips

  1. The editorial morning meeting for business desk of The Times is now 9am for the following day. Releases need to be sent through earlier than this if they want to be considered. Editorial team now working to much earlier deadlines than normal.
  2. The newspaper’s main conference meeting of the day is now half an hour earlier. He meets with the newsdesk straight after this.
  3. The editorial teams work landline numbers have been diverted to their mobiles so they can still be reached by telephone (and email!).
  4. The types of stories that have worked well for them are “added value journalism”, specifically expert analysis of the situation as it develops, comment pieces and features.
  5. Covid-19 continues to dominate the pages, but this is beginning to shift. There’s a huge amount of interest in how the crisis will impact the economy. Specific areas of interest from readers include changes in the housing market, how the workplace is going to change and the economic fallout of the crisis.
  6. The Times website gets updated at 9am, 12pm and 5pm daily. 9am is when the business section published and features how COVID-19 is impacting businesses.
  7. There has been a shift to consumption of news online as newspaper readers have shifted online. Their morning and afternoon emails do very well. Subscriptions are increasing as newspaper sales fall.
  8. The Times are also covering positive stories: How companies have adapted to the crisis and are doing well. Or how some companies are diversifying production lines to produce masks and hand sanitizer as an example.
  9. Going forward there will be a focus on how the crisis is evolving for businesses – how the economy is faring, how businesses are coping with government debt, employment issues and what this means for employees, whether consumer behaviour will change when restrictions are eased, and how people will behave when the recession kicks in.
  10. They are also very interested in looking at stories about smaller businesses who have fallen through the cracks of Government support and the consumer facing sectors which have been hit particularly hard

If you have a story that you think has national media interest and need help getting it in front of the right people, please give Volpa a call on 01738 658187. We’re here to help.