This week we welcomed Christian May, Editor of City A.M, to the Pagefield bunker to talk about his role, the paper today and the direction it’s heading.
Unsurprisingly, City A.M’s focus is on the London business scene. This being one of the most diverse in the world, we should expect the paper to have a lot to say in terms of immigration policy in the upcoming Brexit negotiations.
Not only does City A.M. have the highest percentage of ABC1 readers than any other printed product, it has the highest percentage of readers coming from the upper income bracket. The paper for London’s bon viveurs then, it would seem? Christian sparked laughter around the room when noting that the Financial Times still held the highest percentage of readers with the most disposable income.
A typical day for Christian May starts at 11am and ends somewhere around midnight, reflecting when the paper goes to print at 1am.
Showing the need to always capture the most up to date news, May holds a number of slots in the paper clear until 12:30am and has changed the front page after midnight on six occasions.
City A.M. may hold the title for London’s most eclectic news room. Indicative of an editor, who before City A.M held no editorial experience, May has opened up the pool in which the paper recruits from. Most recent additions to the news room come from PR, accounting and plumbing backgrounds.
Junior PRs and budding journalists, I have some truly awful news. Gone are the days of long lunches and boozy briefings down on Fleet Street. In a time characterised by the ‘instant’, newsrooms simply don’t have the time or resource to leave the office for such debauchery (sigh).
According to the City A.M editor, a good journalist/PR relationship today needs to be defined by one which can add value. Looking beyond your immediate goals and making yourself useful will put you on any journalist’s radar. This could be providing insights on the latest policy announcement or comment on the day’s breaking news, which may not necessarily reflect the sector from which you’re from. Move away from your narrow beat and think of the bigger picture.
May has been encouraged by the pace in which the business community has pulled itself together and got on with life after Brexit – something which he says the media and political worlds should try to emulate.
May’s take on the state of our world was refreshingly optimistic. Talking of the now infamous 2016, May argued that whilst yes, there were what some would describe as a number of unwelcome surprises, this was still a year characterised by technological innovation, creative endeavours, and social progression around the world.
As May nicely summed up “the world is changing, but there are grounds for great optimism and we need to look to the future. To those who insist on sitting in their glass offices, lamenting a world gone mad, you are going to get left behind.”