Today we talk to Energy Live News editor Sumit Bose who tells us why the outlet’s comprehensive and unbiased approach to the energy industry makes it a sector stand-out. While the former BBC reporter and presenter is a believer in the enabling power of good PR, he’s also on high alert for blockers, floggers and lazy press releases.
About the publication:
Who reads it and how many of them are there?
Anyone interested in the energy sector. At present we concentrate on the business area but we will cover retail soon. So our readers and viewers (as we have tv) as well as print are energy buyers, procurement managers, scientists, academics, energy experts, suppliers, brokers and green/renewable energy campaigners and students. We have a readership of 30,000 on our database and regularly reach more than this weekly.
What makes you different from other outlets in your sector
Unlike other business publications or sites and rare amongst general news sites, we cover all sectors of energy – nuclear, coal, gas oil and renewables -and have no prejudice or favouritism for any of them. We are also the only ones producing professional reporter-led tv reports such as you would see on the BBC and SKY for the b2b energy sector.
How do you decide content, front cover and headlines
News of the day, viewers letters, comments, diary events that mean we go to a conference or talk and find we can produce content from it, parliamentary schedules and variety of other sources including tips and phonecalls. Films and stories are decided upon depending on content and significance to our readers/viewers.
Do you produce a features list? Why? Why not?
No we don’t. We make decisions based on agenda and events and are reactive. We welcome ideas based around issues or events eg launch of an electric car or a film on a new turbine factory.
About you and freelance journalists:
Do you use freelance contributions, and if so, are they for any particular section/type of work?
We regularly hire freelance camera crews, and I use a couple of regular freelance writers who have got to know the sector but more importantly are excellent ex-national newspaper writers. I need people who can write fast, accurately and well.
Do you like freelance journalists to get in touch with you directly to pitch ideas? And if so,how?
Not really – haven’t the budget for taking a piece of ad-hoc work. Much prefer to hire someone in to work for a week, cover holidays etc.
Name the three most important attributes that make a freelance journalist stand out for you and would make you use them again.
Fast, accurate, personable.
Do you work closely with PRs or do you keep them at arm’s length?
Work with them but they have to be enablers not blockers and not floggers. Send me a crap press release that is just a sales pitch and you’ll get short shrift! PR has to help and yes if you are defending a company, fair enough but you can’t play the no comment card.
If you could make one change to the way PRs deal with you, what would it be?
Be honest and open.
How should a PR approach you about their client?
Good story, with pics or potential for an interesting film, no bullshit!
What information/input from PRs is most useful to you?
Contacts with or access to the senior players. We’ve set about getting the big names in our sector and the PR with great contacts that can get me the head of energy companies or ministers is always welcome!
Describe a typical day at work: What are you editorial duties/responsibilities at the outlet?
Come in and dish out the stories or tv commissions. Write when needed, report when needed but otherwise I hire people to do that. I work out agendas and plan the coverage for the week ahead. As co-founder and owner of the business I also regularly go to commercial meetings with my commercial director and attend conferences or speak and host events.
What interests you most about your job?
It’s journalism and it’s what I’ve done. We’re also trail-blazing and I enjoy mentoring and bringing on new talent like my young reporters and crew.
Where have you worked previously, and how did you end up in your current position?
National papers and the BBC for 14 years. I was a reporter for TV and radio and had a successful career as a presenter with my own current affairs show, Inside Out on BBC One. Reported from all over the world and worked in all major news areas such as BBC News, Today, 5Live and the World service. I left to freelance at ITN and SKY and then started my own production company. ELN was launched last year by my business partner and myself to fill a gap in the market and deliver news in a new way on the web
Do you Twitter? Why, why not?
Yes – energylivenews.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
Talk to everyone and treat them the same, from movie stars to dustmen.
What media do you seek out 1st thing in the morning?
Radio 5 Live and variety of web.
If you could time travel what time would you go to?
Last week’s lottery draw.
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