The Daily Telegraph

The Daily Telegraph’s business coverage is both award-winning and respected industry wide, and at an exclusive Gorkana briefing this week, joint group business editors James Quinn and Ben Wright talked about what they look for in stories and how they ensure the right content finds the right home in the Telegraph,The Sunday Telegraph and online, writes Ronan George.

“Since 2009-10, we have had one business team which works across seven days a week, 24-hours a day”, Quinn told a jam-packed Gorkana briefing this week at the Royal Society of Medicine. “I think you ensure that way, that a story is told throughout (its lifespan) rather than having one spike in the week.”

The Daily Telegraph’s standalone business supplement is eight pages and full of news, comment and analysis and published Monday to Friday and in The Sunday Telegraph too. The team is 28 strong, made up of editors, beat reporters, economic correspondents and columnists.

Quinn, a former city reporter at the Daily Mail, joined the Telegraph in 2006 and alongside Wright, became group business editor in March 2015. Wright joined the team from the Wall Street Journal Dow Jones/Newswires in 2014, initially as Senior City Editor.

Asked about how they split responsibilities for the daily, The Sunday Telegraph and online, Wright explained that he pays more attention to the online content, comment and features – while Quinn focuses on the daily. However, both are responsible for overall output and every decision made is a joint one. This is easier than it sounds because such stories “generally present themselves as stories which have to go out straight away or can be put out that evening or can hold until the weekend”.

In a year, when business news has made front page headlines, both Quinn and Wright agreed the Telegraph’s coverage of the steel crisis in Port Talbot gave them particular satisfaction. Quinn summed it up: “the team played a blinder”.

Here are just some of the insights and views the pair expressed at the briefing event, in conversation with Philip Smith, Gorkana’s head of news and content:

People drive the news even in business stories

You always have to tell the story through people because “people relate to people”. There is also the tension between what’s going on in government policy, what’s going on with the companies and the interaction between those two. But personality is a massive part of it.

The three Telegraph channels have distinct identities and roles to play

For the online, people who want to be kept up to date with what is going on, on a daily basis. With the daily, it’s a summation of what happened the previous day. On Sunday, you’ve got longer reads and stand-out scoops. You’ve got the audience in mind and for each story you make a judgement call where it goes.

Good video content is more than “middle-aged men in suits” doing vox pops

Good content is something that allows viewers to learn something they wouldn’t otherwise. It needs to explain what’s happening and can use graphics and music.

Telegraph business is a critical friend of business

There’s a drive and determination amongst everyone who works there to deliver the best stories, the best explanation and analysis and the best commentary. That comes from a place of being interested in business. Being a supporter of business with a small ‘s’.

Email is the way forward

People calling saying ‘have you got that email press release’ is a big no. If you are going to try and customise a pitch, think first. Don’t send an email that says ‘I’ve got a great scoop for The Times’. If The Times didn’t want it, the Telegraph doesn’t want it either.

Over 200 people from the Gorkana community turned out for the briefing, describing it as “brilliant”, “enjoyable”, and “insightful”.

Thom Norman, account executive at Capella, said: “This briefing gave brilliant insight into the inner workings of one of the country’s most prestigious quality news desks. It was especially interesting to hear about their shift towards video content, a trend we have seen across many publications recently.

“For me, the most important message from this briefing was that great stories matter more than anything else. No matter what size the company, if you have a great story and find a compelling way to tell it, there is no reason why you can’t achieve fantastic coverage in a paper like the Telegraph.”

Hannah Talbot, consultant at Launch PR, said: “I really enjoyed the briefing with James and Ben – it provided a fantastic insight to life at The Telegraph.

“Getting to hear from such high profile journalists, everything from their daily routine to their ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts, was fantastic and I’m already looking forward to the next one!”

Here’s what some of the Gorkana community had to say on social: