6 questions: Cayla Dengate, Features Editor, mX
Next up in our series finding out how journalists like to work, any issues they have with PRs, how they like stories to be pitched to them, etc, is Cayla Dengate, features editor of free newspaper mX.
1) What is your deadline day?
We write mX News early each morning to be ready on the street by 2.30pm, so our news deadline is about 9am Monday to Friday; however features are arranged weeks earlier. Ideally, we want to know about an event two weeks in advance.
2) How do you prefer to be contacted (i.e. email, phone, fax, post)?
I like to get to know contacts in Brisbane, so a phone call is always appreciated, but email is the failsafe.
3) Is there a particular time of day you prefer to be contacted?
I’m in the office 6.30am-2.30pm Monday to Wednesday.
4) Do you like to meet companies and bosses for coffee/ lunch? If yes, do you have any favourite venues?
I find the best way to meet contacts is at launches and openings. That way, I can meet PRs in their element and hopefully get some story ideas in the process.
5) What are your three pet peeves about PRs?
One: Mobile contact – unless it’s genuinely urgent, I’d prefer work messages to stay on my work phone.
Two: Calling the day of an event – by that stage, it’s mostly too late for mX.
Three: Forced familiarity – it’s not expected for a PR to know everything about every journalist they contact, and it can be embarrassing when they pretend to.
Having said that, I mostly love working with the PR community. Quite a few PRs have helped out mX with last-minute photo requests and contact information!
6) What would the perfect story pitch be for you? And what’s the best PR pitch you have ever had?
While I’d like to say the perfect pitch is one that’s baked into a cupcake, that’s not necessary. mX is looking for stories that directly relate to the 18-35 age demographic. Whether it’s a serious issue or a community event, we want to know why young people should be interested. In terms of photos, we are always looking for a brightly coloured shoot with young, spunky people and lots of props and movement.
There have been some very memorable PR pitches – from an offer to find me my Soul Mate (already taken, thanks) to a photo opportunity with live tigers – but my favourites have to be the illustrated invitations that arrive before fashion week each year. They’re tiny pieces of art that I often keep for years to come.