Heard on Telum: The Secret Sauce - Tips for business media coverage
With so much happening in the business news cycle, what stands out for journalists and how is the pandemic shaping their editorial calendar in the coming months? To find out, Telum Media hosted a Cantonese webinar with three top business news journalists.
Bloomberg Businessweek / Chinese (Hong Kong & Taiwan Edition)’s Don Cheng, Economic Digest’s Vienna Leung and Hong Kong Economic Times’ Fraser Li provided tips on the perfect PR pitch and gave a sneak preview on their focus areas for 2021.
What stories are you looking for?
Don: ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) has been a big focus over the past few months. Exacerbated by the global pandemic, the corporate world is looking to build a new eco-system to measure what it means to be sustainable. For example, Bloomberg Businessweek ran an in-depth piece on the topic as the cover story of its September issue.
As the magazine is published every two weeks, Don enjoys having the time work on longer-form articles and speak to a variety of sources to come up with his take on market trends and notable issues. He is less bogged down by having to provide real-time coverage. Other than business and technology-related topics, the magazine covers any topic relevant in his markets, from social affairs to public policy and luxury lifestyle.
Fraser: Fintech has been a focus particularly B2B fintech. Fraser is looking at the development of blockchain technologies, what it means to companies and regulatory technology. He covers technology on all fronts. Biotechnology, quantum computing and health technology are other areas of interest.
Fraser is also keen on finding out whether ESG policies set out by companies are really making a positive impact apart from the economic value they bring. He would love to work with communications professionals to build something beyond the usual CSR (corporate social responsibility) angles. Fraser is interested in product reviews as his readers are always happy to know about the latest gadgets and electronic products.
Vienna: Vienna is working on a series which requires her to interview CEOs of virtual banks. While this provides her with the opportunity to dig deep into fintech, she is catering for readers who are mostly from the consumer end of the ecosystem. As per her regular beats, Vienna covers a wide range of topics from banking to property to insurance. She also covers ESG if it is proven to be relevant to her readers.
Planning for 2021
Don: Don has recently worked on stories about digital currency and Shenzhen's ‘digital RMB' initiatives, as well as a feature about successful female entrepreneurs. For 2021, he is looking at how the new Basel Convention rules around plastic recycling will impact the plastics industry, and what makes good international collaboration in tackling the global plastic waste problem.
Fraser: Cloud computing will be a focus next year as Fraser believes the coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the digitalisation of businesses. He welcomes pitches about how corporates adopt the technology successfully, especially case studies around specific applications. He would also like to learn from companies how they are safeguarding their employees and boosting morale during the pandemic.
As the year goes along, he will be filling his editorial calendar with a variety of interviews from various sectors, such as catering, hospitality, tourism and start-ups. He will be trying to find out their business forecasts amid an unprecedented situation. Further down the road, he would like to put something together on an overview of different industries on a global level, incorporating market analysis and company interviews from top players such as Apple and Tesla.
Vienna: The Greater Bay Area will be a focus, with a particular interest in learning how businesses can thrive in the newly-developed region and practical tips to form and grow a business in the area. Stories and case studies can come from various sectors from banking and insurance to technology and property.
Collaborating with PRs
Don: While some people might not like to be bombarded with a lot of messages from PRs, Don likes to brainstorm ideas with different people; therefore, he welcomes materials from PRs. The best time to pitch? His team is busiest every other Thursdays and Fridays before the publication of the upcoming magazine. There is no golden rule to pitching, he added. “In many ways, what a pitch looks like comes down to someone's personality."
Fraser: Fraser is constantly looking for story ideas and pitches, even more so when it comes to festive seasons like Christmas and Lunar New Year. While social media is a great place to look for ideas, he loves building connections with PRs to stay informed. Apart from using Telum's Media Request service, he believes a great story can even come from advertisements posted by start-ups and enterprises.
Vienna: It's all about give-and-take as building a good relationship is not a one-way street. In fact, some PR people she has worked with have become friends over the years. Journalists are always on the lookout for a story and this is where PRs can help. PRs should do their own research to find out who is best to approach.