A lesson in addressing the local media

Sir ray Tindle. He knows all about Technical PR, Engineering PR, Industrial PR, Manufacturing PR & Electronics PR. Probably.On Friday I attended a conference about the state of the local media, run by Journalism.co.uk and the University of Kingston. There were presentations on hyper local media (including one by Stone Junction client Oxbury Media) and the state of the nation from a range of publishers. However, the key note speech, presented by Sir Ray Tindle, stood out as truly inspiring.

Sir Tindle was explaining the success of his own publishing empire and in doing so he provided a very useful insight into the workings of the local press for people interested in technical PR. Throughout his career he has made a speciality of buying failing local newspapers and turning them around. He recounted a story of doing this in the sixties with a newspaper in Wales called the Tenby Observer. He made his offer to buy it at 9.00am on the day its demise was covered in The Daily Telegraph. By 2.00pm he had arrived at the offices and purchased the business for a nominal fee after it had, theoretically, published its last edition the week before.

Sir Tindle gave a speech to the gathered members of the team who published the newspaper. He asked them if the wanted to give it another go and they agreed. He said there was just one condition; “A cat must not have kittens in Tenby without it being covered in the Tenby Observer.” Thanks to hard work and a focus on the truly local, the newspaper published a successful edition that week and became profitable again gradually over time. It still exists today.

There are countless stories like this in Tindle Publishing’s portfolio and most of them are similarly inspiring. But the common thread in them all is that Tindle publishes local newspapers about local issues. The Tenby Observer covered the coalition Government with a front page spread featuring a photo of Cameron and Clegg reading the previous week’s edition. Even national news is given a local angle.

So, the lesson for PRs addressing the local media is simple. Your story doesn’t have to be groundbreaking, or of national significance. It has to be local. Truly local. Hyper local. Has your cat had kittens, metaphorically speaking? Then contact your genuinely local paper.

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Richard Stone

Stone Junction is a cool technical PR agency based in Stafford. We work for all sorts of businesses, with a particular focus on technology, technical and engineering companies. We like being sent cake and biscuits by clients, journalists and prospects.

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