In today’s interview we talk to Chris Hall, the recently appointed editor of Pocket-lint. He tell us about his motivation for taking on the job, his ambitions for it, and how he wants PRs to help.
Who reads it and how many of them are there?
Approximately 1.7 million unique visitors a month, mostly tech-savvy, affluent consumers interested in technology.
What subjects do you cover?
We cover all aspects of consumer electronics, from phones to cameras to TVs. We cover technology trends, such as social networking, digital entertainment as well as dabbling in geek culture.
What stories are you most interested in covering?
Breaking stories on consumer technology, what’s new and upcoming in the market, apps, technologies and services that will have a real impact on the daily lives of our readers. We’re also interested in talking to key players in the biggest companies to get their unique insight on the market.
As the new editor, how do you wish to develop the website? Are you planning any major changes to editorial?
Pocket-lint is constantly evolving and always has been and I’ve been involved with these changes for many years already. I have ideas for areas we need to develop, how we can exploit our strengths, and how we can continue to stay ahead of our competitors to offer something different.
What makes you different from the other outlets in your sector?
Visually we excel, choosing to use our own high quality product imaging when we can. We’re interested in examining both sides of the story and seeking out new angles: it isn’t simply about numbers, it’s about delivering a balanced and justified message.
How do you decide the content?
Primarily we determine coverage by what interests us. We have a wealth of practical experience across the staff at Pocket-lint, so we are less interested in following the crowd and more interested in getting to the details that interest our audience.
Do you work closely with PRs or do you keep them at arm’s length?
We work very closely with PRs and are always keen to talk to them and their clients, and attend briefings and demos. We have lots of early adopters at Pocket-lint and they want to know about gadgets as soon as they appear. We want sneak previews of gadgets before launch to make sure the tech adopters are first to know about the newest shiny gadget. We regularly attend both blogger and press briefings.
If you could make one change to the way PRs deal with you, what would it be?
It would be great if PRs could ensure they are pitching the right product to us. We have a wealth of coverage on Pocket-lint and pitching something we’ve covered, or something that is old is never great for us. Equally, if you’re going to suggest someone has a “new and exciting” product, we’ll ask you what’s exciting about it… so make sure you know the details!
How should a PR approach you about their client?
Phone, email, twitter, personal contact, mail. All are fine.
What information/input from PRs is most useful to you?
Precise details – we have a tech savvy audience, they want to know essential details about products, so if you scrimp on details, we’ll be asking for more. Also, we turn stories around quickly, so we need access to images for new announcements, or even better, the chance to see it in the flesh prior to announcement.
When is the best time for PRs to contact you & what is your deadline for contributions?
Any time (on email/twitter) is fine, we don’t have deadlines – if you have an interesting pitch, you’ll be covered the very same day.
What extra/new responsibilities will you have in your new role? How will your average day at work change?
I’ll now be running the editorial approach of the site. Previously I ran the reviews programme, now I’ll be guiding the work of the news, reviews and features editors.
What made you decide to take on the role and what interests you most about it?
The variety and opportunities interest me most, the pace of change in consumer electronics is so ferocious that you have to be ready to adapt and I like that.
Where have you worked previously, and how did you end up in your current position?
I have a long history with Pocket-lint, being involved since it was founded. In previous jobs I’ve managed publications for some of the largest global STM publishers.
Do you tweet? Why, why not?
I do, I’m @christhall
If you could time travel what time would you go to?
November 5, 1955, because it’s a pivotal moment in time travel.