Monday, April 4, 2011

Want the Photo Desk Editor to Like You?

An interesting interview courtesy of Conor Healy Photography with Pictures Editor, Gareth Morgan Pictures Editor of The Irish Independent. Gareth explains how to work with Photo Editors and ensure the best approach when pitching PR photos.

Image courtesy of Conor Healy Photography
CHP: What is your readership level of the Independent online and on the street?

Gareth: The Irish Independent has 539,000 readers daily while the website has 2,400,000 unique users per month.

CHP: What is the breakdown in sales between the compact version of the Independent and the broadsheet version?

Gareth : The compact / broadsheet breakdown is 50/50.

CHP:What is the Independent age readership bracket?

Gareth: The age group breakdown is as follows;

15-24: 44,000

25-34: 88,000

35-44: 100,000

45-54: 108,000

55-64: 94,000

65+: 104,000

Source: JNRS 2010

CHP: Do PR stories appear online as well as in the paper?

Gareth: I would argue that "PR stories" do not appear in the paper. Instead we're always looking for a real news story, or at least an interesting angle from a celebrity or consumer perspective. But yes, most stories that appear in the paper do also appear online.

CHP:What makes the Independent different to the Times and the Examiner newspapers?

Gareth: The Irish Independent has great reach. It has the biggest circulation of all the newspapers in Ireland, it has a strong geographic spread and it is read by a wide range of ages and social groups.

CHP:What makes a really good PR photograph?

Gareth: A good PR photograph doesn't look like it's selling a product. It is a photograph that looks great on a page - where the product might only be a subtle factor. Otherwise it ends up looking like an ad, which we won't use.

CHP: Describe your working day.

Gareth: The morning is spent reacting to breaking news, the afternoon mostly spent monitoring the pictures that have been filed and also planning the following day's paper. The evening is mostly devoted to diary - ie forward planning. I don't really get the chance to plan the following day's coverage until after 5pm.

CHP: When is the ideal time to get images in from a PR photographer?

Gareth: Any time before 3pm is fine. We can take pictures much later - but we must know that they're coming and what time to expect them, with solid contact information provided in case there's a problem late in the day.

CHP: Do you think the PR photograph will continue to be as popular in 2011 as it was in 2010?

Gareth: There's no reason why PR photography should get any weaker, but I think clients need to realise the importance of getting photographers onboard. Too many companies seem to rely on us to send our own photographers these days. Often this is not possible due to breaking news... and the event goes uncovered.

CHP:How many images do you view in a day?

Gareth: More than 2,000

CHP: Are some days better to issue a photocall to the newspaper?

Gareth: For some reason Tuesdays and Wednesdays are very busy, and Mondays/Fridays are very quiet - as if the PR industry is enjoying an extended weekend. There is definitely scope for doing more stuff on Mondays and Fridays, it would spread the load a bit from our perspective.

CHP: Is photocall location a factor for you?

Gareth: It certainly is. Some locations are getting boring (St Stephen's Green....) while we got some recent pictures from the Kerry coast which were stunning. It does make a difference.

CHP: Do you have any other thoughts on the photocall?

Gareth: Too much flesh on show, too many logos, and too much general cheesiness is always a bad thing.

CHP: Do images with ***NO REPRO FEE** attached to them have a better chance of making it in the newspaper?

Gareth: We judge pictures on merit, but it does help to know which ones are free, of course!

CHP: Is there something a PR company can do, to make things easier for you?

Gareth: Make sure the event that they're promoting is covered with a professional photographer who is experienced at filing for national newspapers. Make sure that when they send us the photocall notice, it includes details of who is taking the pictures. No need to ring us dozens of times to ask if we are going to use the pictures. Often decisions on what we will or will not use are not set in stone until about 9pm at night anyway. We will ring you if we need any more info.

Remember, logos or too much product placement really spoil pictures for us.

For more from Conor Healy Photography.

CHphotography was established in 2002 by award winning photographer Conor Healy. Having graduated from Nottingham Trent University, Conor has worked for Fennell Photography, MacInnes Photography and Eye.con Photography as well as having spent a year assisting advertising and fashion photographer Tony Higgins.