Telum Webinar Recap: The Economist's Mike Bird shares what's on his radar

Mike Bird is The Economist's Asia Business and Finance Editor who has recently relocated to Singapore from Hong Kong. He covers business, economics and finance - core sections of The Economist’s print publication. Telum recently organised a one-on-one live webinar with Mike to find out what’s on his radar and the best way of engaging with him and the publication.

Behind The Economist
Mike focuses on covering Asian financial markets, macroeconomics and large corporate developments. He occasionally supports The Economist’s Greater China coverage - with an interest in its property market.

Apart from contributing to the publication's Business and Finance section with his reporting from Asia, his work has also appeared on other sections, such as Buttonwood’s Notebook. He is also a co-host of the Money Talks podcast alongside Soumaya Keynes and Alice Fulwood.

At The Economist, editorial meetings happen every Monday, Wednesday and Friday where journalists pitch stories to 100+ colleagues. The Economist has upheld deliberative processes of collaborative work, and most of its articles carry no bylines. 

Topics Mike is keeping an eye on
How Asian economies are going to be simultaneously affected by Mainland China and the US, given the push and pull of the pandemic, Mainland Chinese policies and American monetary policies. Another topic is how the Hong Kong government will maintain the city's advantages and innovatively sustain its competitiveness.

The webinar also ran a live poll on topics that our viewers think will continue to set the global news agenda this year. About 45% of viewers put inflation at the top of their watch list, while 44% and 11% expect geopolitical tensions and "more crypto drama" to grip headlines in the second half of 2022. 

The Pitch Book
The Economist has no blanket policy on reporters and editors meeting PRs. It’s very much down to the reporters and editors themselves. Additionally, instead of sending general enquiries, read previous coverage and find the most relevant person to talk to. Sometimes, that might be someone who used to cover that topic.

It’s very important and helpful that PRs pitch in advance and frame ideas around general themes such as supply chains and inflation, along with an offbeat twist. The broader a subject gets, the more it requires a historical eye. Particularly in Asia, without an understanding of how to engage with a place’s history and its relationships with relative countries, the story could end up a complete miss.

When writing, journalists at The Economist want to be talking to the most informed person about a topic, someone who can give an insightful understanding of the issue. However, when pitching for a podcast, PRs should also think about whether the client can speak clearly on the programme.

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Mike Bird

Asia Business and Finance Editor

The Economist Singapore

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