GUEST POST: The Sun’s Tim Spanton on PRs, pitching stories (to him) and being ‘wowed’

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Posted by Adam Vincenzini

Earlier this week I wrote a post about five ‘real’ gifts PR people could consider giving journalists this Christmas.

I used The Sun’s Tim Spanton as my ‘case study’ to help bring my recommendations to life as he’s someone we deal with often at Paratus.

Tim, being the great fella that he is, not only read the post but also agreed to respond with his advice about what makes a good story for him.

So, here’s Tim’s guide to pitching to…erm, Tim!

By Tim Spanton, Features, The Sun

Just as every PR is different, so is every journo which makes it very hard to say “what The Sun features team looks for from PRs.” However, I can certainly speak for myself…

The best stories are those that make people go: “Wow – I never knew that.” So surveys that come up with an unexpected result are always good.

So are surveys that break interesting subjects down by regional variation, eg everyone knows boys want to meet girls and vice versa, but it’s always fun reading that, say, girls in Nottingham city centre outnumber boys 2-1 on a Saturday night.

The best PRs, in my view, summarise the main points at the start of an email and then give everything else IN DETAIL further down.

One of my pet peeves is having to chase up a release that, for example, reveals Geordies eat the most ice-cream and West Country people the least but doesn’t give the actual amounts or give figures for the rest of the UK.

Another minor peeve is PRs who don’t include a phone number on their emails – it does happen – or who send a Sunday-for-Monday but without a weekend contact number.

If something is intended for the next day’s paper, it’s usually vital to get it over before 10.30am the previous day at the very latest. If it’s too late to make it onto the morning conference list, it’s unlikely to get in the paper.

But generally my message is: keep the emails coming!


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1 Comment

  • Reply November 19, 2009


    Fairly basic guides here, I am suprised PR’s forget to include phone numbers.

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