Insights for Property PR's with Louisa Clarence-Smith


In the hot seat:

  • Louisa Clarence-Smith
    Property and Professional Services Reporter at The Times

My week:

  • Tuesday to Saturday – news stories are key.
    • Pitch before 9.40am for that days agenda. Business conference at 10am
      • Later on for future stories / placements
    • Wednesday is when Saturday edition discussed
    • Thursday when Monday edition discussed
  • Saturday – section looking for profile: colourful / well known CEO
  • Times online: refreshes with new stories at 9am; 12pm and 5pm
    • Day before business team agrees the 3 stories for next day 9am refresh
    • Post 3-4 stories for the 12pm deadline
    • Deadlines 3.30/4.30pm for the 5pm refresh
    • 5.30pm for the print version
  • Meetings: breakfasts, morning coffees are best. The odd lunch ok. Never Friday's.

My Focus:

  • Predominantly covering Property vs prof services stories
  • Re Professional Services – interested in the Auditors, and the Big 4 + regulation
  • For legal stories do send emails to Jonathan Ames and Louisa – though Jonathan is lead
  • Does not write for Bricks & Mortar nor Money sections
  • Interested in:
    • Property cycle and future developments
    • More non-London focussed stories from across the UK and regions
    • Debt related news fuelling the growth of property (eg WeWork)
    • Stories re owners of large asset portfolio; interesting characters; news angle
    • Regulation of the big 4 auditors

Top Tips:

  • Exclusives to The Times will generate more interest / holds more sway with editor
    • Happy to pick up on key stories from trade property press. Less so from national rivals
    • Happy with placement strategy = Times + broadcast + trade and then a regional.
  • Large Listed company results – often prepare the afternoon before. Info on company is useful
  • Comments: do send in relevant short punchy quotes / comments if news story breaking
  • Weekend features and Monday section – start pitching for this mid week
  • Quotes policy: won’t check quotes. Conversation is on the record. Happy to go ‘off the record’
    • Keep short and opinionated
  • Emails. Subject / Headline – key. Receive c. 100 emails a day
    • Do suggest where story could fit eg Monday story
    • 2-3 key bullet points – why is this newsworthy or relevant
  • Surveys/ Research – yes interested but has to be credible
  • OpEds: No need. The Times business has dedicated columnists
  • Events: Happy to be invited to events. After work as well as property gatherings

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