Life in Lockdown - Claire Irvin, Travel Editor at The Telegraph

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Life in lockdown


Each day we speak to a journalist about their new normal.


Today we hear from Claire Irvin, Travel Editor at The Telegraph.


Where are you working from right now?
My new office - aka the spare room - from which I can see trees and sunshine out of the window. With the door open, I can also hear what’s going on in the rest of the house and family but with it closed the room stays fairly soundproof for conference and meetings!


What’s your new morning routine?
Up at 7am - very relaxed compared to ‘normal’ life when I’m on the train by 6:25am - and straight into the kitchen for a cup of tea. I’ll make crumpets or toast for Charley, 8, who’s another early bird and get him started on a school project. I’ll feed the cat and the ducks if they are creating a big fuss. Then it’s up to the office to catch up on the overnight news and join news conference at 830am.


Have you got dressed today?
Yes! My workwear is a little more relaxed than in peace time but it’s not pyjamas. I’m not that big on make up at the best of times, but I’ve discovered blow drying my hair is really important to how productive I feel. Of course if I’m doing any TV then it’s full slap on, and a posh top. I might even get the iron out for it...


How has your working week changed since Covid-19 hit?
If it’s possible, it’s even busier than ever. And with conferences, Zoom meetings with clients and PRs and team catch ups, it’s almost as social… Whilst what we are writing about on the travel desk has certainly changed in tone and content, the pace with which the news agenda is moving means we are engaging our readers on as many levels as ever, with news, expert analysis, comment, consumer advice and insight all still fundamental. And the need for escapism is almost greater than ever - so we are continuing to inspire our readers with amazing trips they can plan now and do later. I’m also working on some new projects across the Telegraph - we’ve launched The Telegraph Coronavirus Appeal in partnership with Turn2Us which has raised nearly £750,000 for those hardest hit by coronavirus in just a week, and we have launched a heartwarming new series entitled ‘Brave New World’, which profiles the people and the businesses helping their communities during the coronavirus crisis.


What are the current plans for filling your pages?
We take each day and week as it comes and judge the ether, producing the right kind of content accordingly. So whether you’re reading the Telegraph online or in print, you’ll find the recognisable mix of expert advice, inspiration, entertainment and, yes, humour - but hopefully perfectly pitched for where we all find ourselves in that particular stage of the crisis.


What does a work lunch look like these days?
It looks like my three favourite faces - husband and two children - and four different lunches around the kitchen table. Mine’s a bowl of homemade soup!


What’s the biggest challenge for your desk/publication right now?
As always, getting the pitch right. Making sure we are making the most of every single column inch we’re gifted. Telegraph Travel is lucky to have huge scope online and to be able to create healthy print sections. We’ve never taken these for granted and we certainly aren’t now. It’s also making sure we are finding the right balance between supporting and informing our readers and doing the right thing for the industry we support. A recent example was our advice for readers wanting to claim a refund. For many years Nick Trend has resolutely exercised our readers’ consumer rights to claim a cash refund - and last week he shifted his advice, asking them to be patient and, if they can, opt for a voucher or postponement, in order to try to preserve their own right to travel in the way they’ve become used to.


What’s your top tip for PRs right now?
Keep the faith and keep in touch. We are still publishing daily - and we want good news stories from your clients both in the UK and beyond. I still don’t want a ‘Happy Tuesday’ email though please...


What’s your comeback plan?
We haven’t gone anywhere so I don’t feel a need to have a ‘comeback plan’! However I, along with the rest of my team, can’t wait to be able to start rolling out good news of reopening flights, destinations and hotels - and sending our readers to them.


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