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In the hot seat – Tony Turnbull, Food Editor at The Times

Home PR Insights In the hot seat – Tony Turnbull, Food Editor at The Times

In the hot seat:

Tony Turnbull: Food Editor at The Times

Tony’s Week:

  • Likes meeting PRs but very hard as one-man team
    • Giles Coren reports to Tony
    • Two freelancers that are used regularly are: Harry Wallop and Mike Odell.
  • Commissions two stories a week on average.
  • Tony has short lead times. Likes to hear about Christmas at the end of November, Easter at the end of March.

The Times:

  • Food content runs on Thursday and Saturday. The Table is in the main paper on Thursday. On Saturday you can find food content in the Times Magazine colour supplement and in the Weekend section of the paper.
  • The Magazine content is predominantly recipe-based features – in particular, quick and easy recipes that can be cooked at home.
  • Demographic: Aged 40-60
    • AB1 readership
    • Middle class, affluent, well-travelled and mainly UK based
    • The reader does not like veganism
  • Exclusives: important but not fundamental. Won’t run coverage if it has been in The Sunday Times (main competitor)
    • Tony likes to put a different spin on features that have already run
  • Deadlines: Magazine – every Monday for the following Saturday, The Table – copy deadline is at 16:00 on a Wednesday.
    • Can turn things around in a day if a very strong story.

Top Tips:

  • Try and think like a journalist, only pitch something that you find interesting, that you would tell a friend about.
  • Not everything has to be new, though fashionable, newsworthy and trendy always does well.
  • Decent photography to accompany recipes is very important – can make the difference between getting in the paper and not.
  • No set day to pitch, every day is busy.
  • Be clear in the subject line, it should be a description of what you’re pitching.
  • Keen on trends. It takes 3 to make it a trend.
    • Tony recommends PRs work together more for inclusions. One client may not be enough for a story. Combine with other ideas and it becomes a much stronger proposition.

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