Media interview with Scott Thompson, editor of FStech

Scott Thompson is the editor of FStech, a business title for IT decision makers in the financial services sector. Read on to find out more about the publication, Thompson’s current role at the title and plenty more.

About the publication:

Who reads it and how many of them are there?
FStech is a leading business title for IT decision makers in the UK and European financial services sector. It has an ABC certified circulation of 11,500 IT decision makers from across the continent within banks, building societies, insurers, trading houses, exchanges and other financial institutions.

What subjects do you cover? What stories are you most interested in covering?
A wide range of subjects, too many to list here, but right now I’m particularly interested in the retail banking sector, plus mobile banking and payments and social media.

What makes you different from the other outlets in your sector?
The fact that each issue of FStech has six or seven in-depth features and an in-bound supplement examining the key financial sector technology-related issues of the day. Our website and weekly e-newsletter also ensure our readers are up-to-date with all the latest news and developments within the sector. What sets us apart from our rivals is that mix of analysis, comment and news.

How do you decide the content?
We produce a media plan which sets out features and supplements for the year ahead. Whilst the magazine is built around a core set of features and supplements, the forward features list is not set in stone, reflecting the fact that the financial services technology sector is so fast-moving.

Do you produce a features list? Why? Why not?
We do, yes. It isn’t available online but drop me an email at and I will send it over.

About you and freelance journalists:

Do you pay for contributions from freelance journalists?
Yes, I do. I have a freelance budget for each issue and usually commission six or seven freelancers.

Do you like freelance journalists to get in touch with you directly to pitch ideas? And if so, how?
As we have a very definite idea of what we’re covering in each issue, I don’t encourage freelance journalists to pitch ideas when first getting in touch. I have a great team of freelancers but am always on the lookout for new writers so feel free to get in touch if you have experience of writing about technology and ideally the financial services sector. A brief intro and example of your work would be greatly appreciated.

Name the most important attribute that makes a freelance journalist stand out for you and would make you use them again?
The most important is the ability to turn in informative, lively copy on deadline. I know that sounds like I’m stating the obvious, but you would be surprised at how many freelancers fall down on this.

About PRs:

Do you work closely with PRs or do you keep them at arm’s length?
I wouldn’t say that I work closely with PRs, but I do have good relationships with many of them. There are some, though, who make pests of themselves with constant calls and emails, often asking for info that can be found on the website or telling you that their client is a perfect fit for your publication. Those PRs tend to be kept at arm’s length.

If you could make one change to the way PRs deal with you, what would it be?
Don’t send over a press release, then ring the same day to see if I’m going to base the next issue around it. I receive a huge amount of press releases but I do read through everything I receive. If it’s of interest, you will hear from me or the info will be used in some form or other. That simple change would cause me a lot less hassle through out the day – it becomes a bind having to take countless ‘did you receive my press release and are you going to use it?’ style phone calls.

How should a PR approach you about their client?
Email me and, if you haven’t heard from me within a couple of days, feel free to give me a call. I’m happy to take calls but do give short shrift to PRs who think that you should automatically meet with their client/cover their client’s news just because you spoke to them on the phone once. Especially when they haven’t even bothered to do basic research on FStech. The worst form of attack is to do zero research on the title, send over an irrelevant press release, then pester the editor about it. It’s amazing how often that happens.

What information/input from PRs is most useful to you?
Contract news, new products/solutions, appointments, letters to the editor, offers of comment, ideas for opinion pieces.

When is the best time for PRs to contact you, and what is your deadline for contributions?
There isn’t a best time, really. At the risk of sounding corny, no two weeks are the same. Just get in touch via email and we can go from there.

About you:

Describe a typical day at work: What are your editorial duties/responsibilities at the outlet (e.g. commissioning, subbing, features, interviewing)?
Typical day consists of catching up on emails first thing, then I write up one or two news stories for the website. I usually schedule one or two lunch meetings per week plus there are various conferences/roundtables, etc. to attend. My duties/responsibilities include commissioning, subbing, features, interviewing, news writing. I’m also heavily involved in the events side of the title, launching, organising and covering various roundtables and conferences, plus our annual awards.

What interests you most about your job?
Probably the social media side of things. I really enjoy blogging and building the title’s presence on Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. It’s a great way to connect with the readers on a daily basis.

Where have you worked previously, and how did you end up in your current position?
Prior to FStech, I was editor of its sister title Retail Systems for four and a half years. Before that I worked on several titles in the shipping sector – a good learning experience but I don’t miss the life of a ship spotter. It was an incredibly stuffy and conservative industry and the technology sector is the complete opposite, plus there is never a dull day covering the financial services sector.

Do you tweet? Why, why not?
I do, indeed. Big fan of Twitter. You can follow FStech @FStechnology and my own inane ramblings @ScozzaThompson.

If you could time travel what time would you go to?
Having recently seen and thoroughly enjoyed The Artist, I’d have to say 1920s/30s Hollywood. It must have been a great time to be alive. And the clothes were awesome.

[img|jpg|Scott Thompson]

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