Helen Bushby – BBC Arts and Ents Online – email@example.com
Hannah Ewens – Vice – firstname.lastname@example.org
Georgina Godwin – Monocle 24 – email@example.com
Georgia Graham – Channel 4 News Online – Georgia.firstname.lastname@example.org
Lauren Turner – BBC Arts and Ents Online – email@example.com
Lauren Turner – BBC News, Arts and Entertainment journalist
Helen Bushby – BBC News, Arts and Entertainment planning
They look after books, film, TV, theatre, music, radio, visual arts
Books – they do author interviews based around the book or a topic linked to the book. For example, recently that have spoken to Libby Page on the power of uplifting fiction (The Lido), the author of Love, Simon about the book being made into a film, Joe Suggs on his graphic novel.
The cover awards e.g. Nibbies, Wodehouse, trade announcements, looking ahead at new books coming out to watch.
The do ‘How To’ pieces but only with bug authors – the last one they did was with Philip Pullman on his lessons in writing.
They do do some pieces by debut novelists – needs a good hook though.
For fiction authors – they are open to pitches for authors to write pieces but they can’t pay and the pieces have to be edited into BBC style.
Video team – BBC Culture and Arts operate very separately to News. Features can be used on the home page which really helps stats and views. To be featured on the home page it has to be a big name author.
They have done a lot of research lately into their demographic and it’s predominantly a white ABC1 male audience. They need to change this and have been tasked with attracting a C2DE audience and also concentrating on the 16-25 market. They are looking at featuring YouTubers, soap operas, autobiographies, reality TV stars and instagrammers to achieve this so do send any appropriate suggestions their way. Broaden your pitches so they can broaden their audience.
Their Facebook page is a big focus and they like to feature 90 second videos featuring authors talking about their books in interesting locations. For video features email as far in advance as possible so they can get it set up.
For headline authors and events, let them know as soon as possible.
Lead times – on the day news can of course be called in at any time. For planned features the work at least 2-4 weeks in advance. For book previews they work as far in advance as possible. They get in early (6.30am-ish) and first thing in the morning (9-9.30am) is the best time to contact them. They have a late morning/early afternoon planning meeting on a Thursday.
Do they attend launch parties? – depends on the availability of the team.
Best contact – by email first, can follow up by phone but email preferred.
Meetings – meeting in person can be useful for planning.
Georgina Godwin – Monocle 24
Books editor of audio channel
The magazine (not looked after by GG) – they work a couple of months in advance, production week is the last week of the month. Demographic is AB, very international.
Radio – books prog feels very different to the magazine and has a different audience. It often has a business and design focus. A lot of people listen to Meet the Writer.
MtW – no down the line, 30 mins in person, big names and prizewinners.
Festivals – Georgina does a lot of chairing at festivals and events and preparing for these takes up a lot of her time. What is useful is if there’s an overlap between who she is chairing for an event and who she is interviewing as this is twice the output for the prep.
Weekend Reads – this is a slot for smaller and less well-known authors. It goes out live on Saturday and is repeated on Sunday and goes online. 5-10 minute interview, do bear in mind that for an interview of this length GG will not have time to read the book so will need a detailed synopsis but her researcher may have read it so it depends.
For more books coverage on Monocle 24 you can also contact Holly Fisher – firstname.lastname@example.org – she looks after culture. She doesn’t do interviews with authors but looks at features alongside a theme.
For Monocle Weekly contact Tom Hall – email@example.com – this is a far more robust chat on a slot called The Globalist which is billed as NPR meets 6 Music. It’s more international than the Today prog and they are always on the lookout for experts and opinion makers.
GG works roughly 6 weeks in advance for Meet the Writer but can make exceptions for big names. Please don’t email/pitch pre-Hay as she does a lot of events at Hay and is too busy prepping for those.
Pitching – outline what the author is good at speaking about in detail.
For Monocle 24 reviews – send to GG or HF as they do round table reviews
Georgia Graham – Channel 4 News Online
Georgia is the Deputy Head of Digital at C4 News.
They don’t do in-depth interviews, their interviews take a more newsy slant.
Their focus audience is 16-34 so they always look for angles that will appeal to that audience. Make it clear in your pitch how this is the case for your author. Recently they have covered things like Holly McNish on motherhood, Emily Wilson on sexism in translation (new translator of the Odyssey)
They like thinking about books in a different way. What does it mean for the audience rather than just a straight sell. Short videos to complement news are great – to capture the newsy style the pitch would be similar to pitching an op ed piece to a newspaper.
They have a huge social following.
Digital crossover – they have launched a podcast, Ways to Change the World. Krishnan Guru Murthy presents it. It’s 30-60 minutes so it isn’t an easy ride and must include thoughts on the subject rather than just selling the book.
Lead time – a couple of weeks where possible. She likes to receive finished copies rather than PDFs. She doesn’t go to launch parties as she doesn’t finish work until 8pm.
Hannah Ewens – Vice
UK team – only covers UK content, they have a separate team in the US covering US specific. Their audience is young teenage to mid-thirties.
Vice is the main site. They also have Broadly which is female focussed, Munchies which covers food, Noisy which covers music.
Hannah looks after mental health, film, LGBT and books content
There is another person for UK politics, TV, relationships and sex.
They want to cover more books. They get a lot of post and emails that aren’t relevant – they don’t cover young YA, kids, gifting, YouTubers.
Lately they have covered:
Selfie by Will Storr, Drugs that Changed Our Mind, Russell Brand, Slay in Your Lane, Sally Rooney – they really like young authors and they are a hit with their audience.
They have missed out on some things – Reni Eddo Lodge as an example which would have been perfect for them. They weren’t sent or pitched it.
Their perfect author would be UK based young person with something to say on mental health, politics and identity.
Slay In Your Lane – perfect example of a book for them and they are doing a round table interview/discussion on being a young black woman growing up in the UK.
They’d love to have more appropriate author features pitched to them.
They do translate features for other international Vice markets.
Lead time – a couple of months in advance where possible. There are 5-6 team members and they are happy to do meetings to go through catalogues. Email a list of upcoming books rather than sending all finished copies – they can then request which they would like to see. They don’t go to launch parties.
Do they cover e-book only?
BBC – yes but would depend on author (big name)
Monocle – maybe it would fit for other sections
C4 – depends on the author but probably not
Breaking News – how do I put my author forward as a talking head?
All – email ASAP, potentially call if it’s a big story or big name
C4 – news conference is at 9.30am
Vice – no quick news response, would more likely commission a comment piece
Do interviews/features have to be exclusive and do you need to run first?
BBC – love to have exclusivity and flag this but there isn’t anyone they wouldn’t follow – of course all of this depends on the author/story. They do have 17 million readers daily though so their figures are worth it
Monocle – understand that authors do a lot of press. The magazine’s competition is GQ and Courier and they wouldn’t follow them. Radio – not too fussed as their interview is so different and more in-depth compared to others available on R4 for example
C4 – for the programme it must be an exclusive (big name interview), online is more relaxed and will try to bring a different slant to the story. They can do extended interviews for the website to expand on the topic.
Vice – don’t follow Dazed & Confused as this is their biggest competitor and also the Guardian as audience is similar. ID is owned by the same company and shares the website so don’t pitch to both. Not too bothered otherwise as it’s likely they’ll be covering it in a different way. Recent example – Viv Albertine piece in Guardian, covered next by Vice Online.
Do you cover image-led books?
C4 – depends on the theme, would have to be a recognised voice
Monocle – foe design show
Vice – do 2-3 per week on nightlife, sub-cultures, street authors
BBC – do a lot of them