Friends In High Places

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Friends in High Places

Duncan Craig’s abrupt exit took almost everyone by surprise. Beyond that, it was also a bummer for those PRs – and journalists – for whom he was the main contact on the Times travel desk.

This sort of thing is part of the freelance journalist’s bête noire: that scenario wherein an editor who rates you and gives you regular work departs, and a replacement arrives with their own favourites and no interest in your talents. I know the equivalent is frequently true for you PRs, with all those painstakingly made inroads at a publication suddenly eroded.

I think the trick, in both cases, is to try and widen your net as much as possible in order to try and be bulletproof. At Metro, for instance, I know both Laura Millar and the features editor. If the absolute worst happens and Laura were to leave — there is no suggestion of this, to be clear — then I would hopefully still have an ‘in’ even if the next travel editor didn’t know me from Adam.

In the PR arena, it’s sensible to try and find a subtle way to make other contacts on the desk, so that you’re not greatly hindered if one person leaves — Duncan in this instance. Lean on the fact that Person A knows and respects you when emailing Person B, or conjure up a reason to need to contact the paper or magazine when you know that your main contact is away. It might not always work, but it has to be worth trying.

Duncan may very well, of course, end up as the editor or travel editor of an equally prestigious, desirable title — and those foremost in his contact book will be the chief beneficiaries. So there’s reason for optimism for such folk, even amid the disappointment.

What Richard thinks…

“I love the brand identity and sharp images on Aman releases, but also here the sensible brevity employed by Harriet”


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