Shocks & Stares » Economics H&K\'s Financial & Professional Services Team Blog Tue, 19 Mar 2013 08:00:56 +0000 en hourly 1 What PR was like in the B.G. era (Before Gorkana) Fri, 22 Jun 2012 14:02:20 +0000 David Chambers For many of us in the Financial & Professional Services team, it’s impossible to conceive how the world of PR worked before the digital age really got going. The idea of posting/faxing press releases, having to wait to read the newspapers every morning to know what was happening in the news, or keeping actual physical media contact books just seems alien.

Some of the older members of the team assure me it really did used to be this way though and earlier this week I found some evidence for it. While clearing out some of our filing cabinets, I came across a dusty, weighty tome entitled “Financial Press Facts: Forty-ninth Edition October 2003″. This, in essence was an analogue, print version of Gorkana – all the correspondents, on all the papers and trade magazines, and even the forward feature lists as well.

This is how PR looked before databases like Gorkana

I’ve been staring at it utterly fascinated all week, looking at where some of Britain’s top journalists in 2012 started out. But what’s even more fascinating (not to mention disheartening) is that this document shows you just how much the media world has shrunk in nine short years. Apart from the FT, Telegraph and Times, most business and personal finance desks have shrivelled in comparison to 2003. For example, Financial Press Facts lists 28 Business and PF journalists at The Guardian plus another 11 on The Observer in 2003. Today, that figure is less than 30 across both based on a quick Gorkana search.

It’s a similar story on the Independent, Indy on Sunday and Evening Standard, which recently merged their business desks together.┬áThe real drain though, has happened outside of the broadsheets – the Mirror for example has gone from 7 business and PFs to just 2 today while the Express has shrunk from 13 to just 5 full time journalists. As for regional papers, the picture is similar – the Birmingham Post and Birmingham Mail soldier on with only half of the 8 business journalists they used to employ.

The media have trumpeted the fact that more consumers are more aware of and engaged in economic news than ever before (with even The Sun reviving its personal finance page recently and giving Dan Jones a new Mr Money page on Sundays to boot). Yet resource is shrinking dramatically.

So what does this window on the past mean for PR people like us? I’d suggest two things:

1. It shows the extent of the challenge in 2012 – cut to the chase and make sure it really is interesting, because there’s no time or space for anything else any more

2. It shows the extent of the opportunity – go the extra mile and be that extra journalist that the City Editor no longer has, because chances are you’ll get a lot more joy for your brand or clients in the long run

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