08 Jun 2023

Media Network: Issue 4, 2023

Welcome to an early summer edition of MHP Group’s Media Network Bulletin. In this edition, our unrivalled team of former journalists and media experts brings you the latest insights behind recent headlines.


In Conversation with Claire Hubble, Head of Social Media at The Telegraph

Josh Powell reports

MHP’s James Rollinson recently hosted a Q&A with The Telegraph’s newly appointed Head of Social Media Claire Hubble. Here’s what she had to say on the evolving role of social media in breaking, reporting, and consuming news.

On the relationship between social and the newsroom: “We are increasingly the first to see new trends or content that has gone viral and Senior Editors are increasingly turning to us for advice or research. The way consumers search for things like holiday destinations or restaurant recommendations is changing, with increasing numbers using TikTok or other social platforms rather than Google. The newsroom is increasingly aware of this and so social is having more of an impact on reporting.”

On how different channels form a part of The Telegraph’s social strategy:

  • “TikTok has created an entirely new way of presenting and consuming news. We saw this with the war in Ukraine, where for the first time we were seeing first-person perspectives of war, people fleeing the country and even those in the trenches”.
  • “It’s important for The Telegraph to maintain a presence on platforms like Twitter as they feel a responsibility to ensure users can access verified news sources. With the current spread of misinformation, the importance of having a Twitter presence has only been amplified for us”.
  • “Reddit has become a key part of The Telegraph’s social strategy, both for breaking news and for building trust between consumers and journalists. One of the key causes of news avoidance is distrust for journalists and publications and the industry needs to make news more accessible. Reddit’s popular “Ask Me Anything (AMA)” threads have enabled users to ask journalists questions and receive responses in real-time, which has aided in building trust across news desks”.

On how brands and PRs can engage with the social team: “The Telegraph’s social team is not directly involved in commissioning stories, but social can play a role in increasing interest. It’s worth flagging to editors if the release topic is popular on social media or if there is a relevant hashtag that the piece feeds into as it shows organic growth potential. Similarly, if the spokesperson or brand you’re pitching to has a large social following, note that they are willing to engage with or reshare any content posted. Pitches that demonstrate an awareness of how the story fits into social media trends stand out and are more likely to be picked up”.

On what the future looks like for social media: “2023 is going to be the most exciting year for social media to date as some of the large platforms are experiencing a decline… Consumers have proven they’re open to trying new apps – the rise of BeReal over 2022 was a good proof point for that, though it has struggled to carry its momentum into this year. It’s worth keeping a close eye on Barcelona and Blue Sky – two relatively new platforms that are showing potential to compete with Twitter”.

ITV News is looking ahead to COP 28

By former ITN reporter Charlotte Grant

It’s not till November, but ITV News is already considering how it will cover the UN climate summit COP 28 in Dubai. This year’s conference is already proving controversial as the host, the United Arab Emirates, is one of the biggest producers of oil and gas.

In the run up to the summit, Philip Sime, ITV’s Health and Science Producer says they’re looking to cover the impact of climate change from various places around the world as well as from the UK.  He says “we want to also ensure we cover the technical innovations that can help us meet the challenges posed by climate change.”

With a consumer focus and TV packages lasting around two minutes, the key element for ITV News is good picture. Whenever they consider a pitch, producers think: who can we speak to and what can we see/film to tell this story in the most engaging way?

The Financial Times is the UK’s most trusted news brand

By Abigail Smith

News reported by the Financial Times and BBC is the most trusted in the UK, according to new research.

At the other end of the scale, The Sun is the least trusted UK news brand, just below The Star, according to YouGov’s study of audience trust.

With its reputation holding strong, the FT has been named the most trusted of 32 UK outlets, with four in 10 saying they trust its reporting.

Overall the FT is rated at +30, derived from combining those who trust the outlet, giving a positive (+) verdict, against those who distrust it, giving a negative (-) rating.

The next most trusted outlets were ITV (+28), Channel 4 (+27), and the BBC (+22). Those in which the public had the least trust were The Sun (-53), The Star (-50), and then The Mirror and The Daily Mail (both at -37).

The research found that age had a major impact on how outlets were viewed. Among respondents aged 18 to 24, the BBC was the most-trusted outlet with 51pc of Gen Z saying they trusted the public service broadcaster – higher than the general population. Other outlets trusted by this generation included The Guardian (41%) and Channel 4 (37%).

Among older respondents, the BBC, ITV and Financial Times were most trusted. More 50 to 64 year olds said they trusted the BBC than any other outlet (42%), followed by the FT and ITV (41% each).

How to pitch health stories

By Miles Watson and Jaber Mohamed

MHP’s specialist health team works across all levels of the media, from policy to consumer issues and from national to specialist media. Knowing where and how to place your story is vital: we spoke to two journalists writing for different audiences about what stories work best for them.

Kate Pickles, the Daily Mail’s Health Editor (Medical), tells companies to pitch the unexpected. She said:  

“The Daily Mail loves health stories. We love stories that get people talking – so when you are thinking about pitching to us think about whether your story will spark conversation.

“It can be a different take on an everyday topic or an unexpected finding. But of course it needs to be new.

“If a story is good and there isn’t the space in the newspaper, it will go on the MailOnline website, which is the largest English language news site in the world. So if you want to reach the largest possible audience we are the best publication for that.”

Nick Kituno, correspondent at the Health Service Journal, tells clients to frame stories in the context of existing issues that are impacting healthcare:

Our stories focus on the: “So what?” They aim to get down to a core issue that exists right now, why it matters, and the potential long-term implications if left unchecked.

This means understanding what is happening on the ground – locally, regionally and nationally – through our extensive range of knowledge, contacts building and understanding of technical NHS policy.

There isn’t much room for innovation or solutions-led stories which pharma may be more familiar with, but there may be more scope for this in our opinion or sponsored pages.

The inverse is better – lead with the issue and the material consequences of not solving it, and then follow up with solutions that may exist. If you can demonstrate this through data, that’s better.

Rachel Rickard Straus was recently promoted to Money Editor across the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday Titles.

Giles Usher breaks down what she wants to hear about from PRs

What is a perfect Money Mail story?

We are looking for stories that a large number of readers will find relevant to their own lives. I really like “hidden in plain slight stories”, which are stories on topics that may already be in the public consciousness but have some scope to really unpack and can move things forward from what we hear in the news.

Who is a typical Money Mail reader?

Given we are a national title our work reaches millions of people of many demographics. That said, we do skew towards older, more affluent readers. That isn’t to say that they aren’t interested in stories about younger generations, and all our pieces also run online where the audience is naturally a bit younger.

We are also aware of not being too London-centric in our reporting, and case studies are a great way of bringing more geographical diversity into what we do.

Is there anything that you are more likely to run on a Sunday?

In a word, exclusives. Almost everything in the Sunday edition will be an exclusive, unless it’s a huge story that is too big to ignore. We also tend to run investment content on a Sunday, rather than Wednesday

What are the key topics that are currently keeping you busy?

Unsurprisingly, the cost-of-living crisis remains hugely important. We are constantly trying to provide helpful advice to readers by offering solutions to specific problems. We are also looking at the impact of prolonged and sustained inflation, in particular the knock-on effect on interest rates and the consequences for savers. The same can also be said about energy bills and pensions.

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