Daily Mail, Alex Brummer

Gorkana hosted a media briefing with Alex Brummer on 19 November. Alex has headed the Daily Mail’s financial coverage as City Editor since 2000.

The City desk a wide range of business issues, including the economy, engineering, defence, fund management, pensions, corporate governance, retail, leisure, property, stock markets, oil, mining, airlines, telecoms, infrastructure, utilities and IT.

The ‘Uber of banking’, financial journalism’s leap into the mainstream and how consumer companies “can’t do without” the Daily Mail, were just three of the many topics covered by the paper’s city editor Alex Brummer in an exclusive media briefing with Gorkana this week (Thursday).

Alex Brummer’s journalistic career is a tale of two brands. He started out for the Guardian before moving on to his current role as city editor of the Daily Mail. Despite acknowledging the papers’ political differences and calling it “the longest journey you can make in journalism”, he explained “both believe in integrity and ethics in business”.

Integrity was a central theme in yesterday’s media briefing hosted by Philip Smith, Gorkana’s head of news and content. Brummer, who published his seventh book called Bad Banks: Greed, Incompetence and the Next Global Crisis earlier this year, rails against what he believes are the City’s ill-practices in his daily column – banker bonuses, FOREX-rigging and a lack of transparency. He explained: “The job of financial journalists is not to be cheerleaders of the City…it is to hold them to account.”

Yet, Brummer acknowledges the important role that PRs continue to play in the conversations Daily Mail’s city reporters, whose pages are read by about six million people a day, have with businesses. Here are three essential things communicators should know before approaching the Daily Mail’s City and Finance pages.

Thinking seasonally can land you interview opportunities
“What we need is a mixture. You can’t do serious people all of the time – you need to have ‘lighter’ people from marketing-orientated consumer companies. Around the Christmas period we want more retailers with interesting products. Toy manufacturers, for example. Anyone who comes to us with those big ideas will get a good reception”. Daily Mail’s business profile feature aims to put the spotlight on an array of prominent characters – typically CEO or chairman level – across a range of industries. Around Christmas, the paper looks to fill interview slots with consumer-facing companies, as befits the season.

The best financial content is produced with the consumer in mind
“The Mail has always prided itself on accessibility. Money Mail, our personal finance pages, has an enormous readership. It is the most followed. It was the first money section of any national newspaper, going back 30 years.” The Daily Mail boasts the largest female readership of any UK national (54%); this group is “shrewd”, said Brummer, and they are the best placed to make financial decisions about the household. The Daily Mail’s City and Money Mail reporters work closely together creating content with the consumer in mind. Brummer added: “I think it is about public interest – broader political and consumer interest. We are a paper that takes the consumer right across the board.”

‘Bright’ visuals will make it into the paper
“The best form of communication is direct one on one. Meeting people for coffee, lunch or drinks. For many people, that personal contact is the best form of picking up stories”, said Brummer. He reflected that the privilege of seniority means he has good relationships with the head of big business and the government, but for his reporters it is vital to garner personal relationships with comms personnel. Email may not be the best way to reach him, with 400 emails dropping into his inbox every day, but any PR with a good visual to accompany a business story should drop his team a note. He added: “A good, bright picture will get in the paper.”

Rostrum’s Sophie Mellish attended the event. She said: “Alex was very honest and insightful – especially on the perennial theme of journalist-PR relations. It’s reassuring to know that traditional face-to-face meetings are still highly valued by financial journalists.”