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The Times Property Team with Martina Lees, Senior Property Writer

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In the hot seat:

Martina Lees: Senior Property Writer at The Times



Martina’s week:

  • Planning meeting happens on a Thursday at 2.30pm for the following week’s copy across both supplements
    • Note lots of content gets commissioned before this (eg Home section)
  • Monday morning – production meeting for Bricks & Mortar, finalising supplement
  • Gets over 100 pitches a day
    • Emails: Good subject line. Be direct. Get to the story/point.
    • Don’t attach press releases, put them in the body of the email
    • Images very important. Put smaller image in the email. Dropbox.
    • What’s the story for our readers? Interesting and exclusive
    • Follow up via email. Thereafter – leave it
  • Meetings: Near office. Experts/knowledgeable about their field. 2-3 weeks in advance.
    • Best time: 9am/10am. End of the week better.


Team Top Tips:

  • Team generally starts about 10am in the office
  • Focussed on
    • The Times’ Bricks & Mortar section
      • Copy deadline end of Tuesday
      • Goes to print Wednesday, published Friday
      • Best time to pitch: previous Thursday morning
    • The Sunday Times’ Home section
      • Lifestyle and features content
      • Copy deadline Thursday, Signed off 6pm Friday
        • Goes to print Saturday
  • Team interests:
    • The big issues in property: climate change and how housing will have to change, air pollution, in-balance in wealth across housing, housing policy, cladding, leasehold
    • Property market data, trends, locations, insight, new angles to buying/selling/renting/letting/investing – with an emphasis on practical guides beyond the obvious, colourful anecdotes and case studies
    • Lifestyle trends: the topics you discuss around dinner parties on how we live now
    • Interested in appealing to families (upsizing, extensions) and younger readers (renting, first-time buyers)
    • Interiors
    • Gardening
    • Not London centric – interested in regional stories too


Sections breakdown:

  • Bricks & Mortar:
    • Home of The Week: Carol Lewis
    •  
    • What does £X buy you in..: Victoria Brezinski
    • Movers & Shapers: Helen Davies/ Carol Lewis/ Martina Lees / Melissa York
    • Décor Decoded: Victoria Brezinski / Martina Lees
    • Save & Splurge: Katrina Burroughs
    • Let’s retire to: Helen Davies/ Carol Lewis
  • Home:
    • Making moves: Carol Lewis
    • Market Watch: Melissa York
    • Makeover Masterclass: Successful housing project / makeover – Martina Lees / Hugh Graham
    • Home Help: Hugh Graham
    • Time & Space interview: Helen Davies/ Carol Lewis/ Melissa York / Martina Lees
    • Tried & Tested: Hugh Graham


Top Tips:

  • Bricks & Mortar and Home supplement – two biggest selling property related sections in the country
  • Audience is 40+, education, affluent, family orientated. Trying to win a younger audience
  • Interested in exclusives. Don’t send us ideas that have been sent to other nationals
  • Online analysis of stories hits, length of engagement and if led to subscriptions
  • Everything in print goes online. But additional online content too
  • Great images are very important
  • Conversations are on the record


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