6 questions: Alex Tilbury, Finance reporter, The Courier-Mail

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 Alex Tilbury, finance reporter from The Courier-Mail.

1)      What is your deadline day?

Deadline is normally every day from 4pm onwards. The afternoon news conference finishes around 3:30pm so that is when the section editors know what they want for the next day. The Your Money section is nationally syndicated across all News Ltd tabloids and is normally done and dusted each Wednesday for the following Monday.

2)      How do you prefer to be contacted (i.e. email, phone, fax, post)?

Email is definitely best. I don’t want faxes. I am just dipping my toes into the Twittersphere so even a tweet is good. I check it a few times a day. Follow me @AlexTilbury.

3)      Is there a particular time of day you prefer to be contacted?

Please don’t ring any daily newspaper journo in the late afternoon as it is simply too busy to talk. Mornings are always best to call, if you must. As a rule, news conference starts at the Courier-Mail at 9:30, then 10:30am. We are very keen to hear about video/audio options. If you can package a story for an iPad edition (every day at 5am and 5pm), then that’ll work in your favour too. We have to sell our own stories across all the multi-media platforms.

4)      Do you like to meet companies and bosses for coffee/ lunch? If yes, do you have any favourite venues?

I definitely like to meet up but I prefer people to come to our office at Bowen Hills. I don’t have a lot of time to get out basically.  It’s also very posh in the new newsroom, all renovated and we even have great coffee here.

5)      What are your three pet peeves about PRs?

I am constantly surprised when PRs call and ask if you have run such and such story and it may have run already but many PRs don’t actually read the book! Buy the paper, it’s so fundamental. Not every story gets uploaded online. In fact it is only going to get worse when the content online will eventually be subscriber-only. And, don’t ring me and ask who you should pitch a piece to. Start with the Chief of Staff and then contact journos directly.

6)      What would the perfect story pitch be for you? And what’s the best PR pitch you have ever had?

Case studies really help, especially in business reporting. Find me a happy customer and it’s an easy way for people to relate. We are definitely not a trade magazine, so nothing extremely single product specific. Be aware of what is happening in the news and in terms of data coming out. New car sales data, retail data, building approvals… all these are hooks to a genuine news piece that highlights your car dealer, shop owner or builder. Think a little more ‘newsy’.

Best pitch… still waiting! Every day is different. I think the best PRs are the ones who understand we are all here just to do our jobs, fill the book and find the best angle for our readers.

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