Fleet Street’s finest talks tactics

Wriglesworth’s Ben Marquand interviews Neil Mackwood, Director at Wriglesworth.

BM: So what’s your background?

NM: I started out life as an indentured reporter on the Yorkshire Post writing about pit accidents, the results of the Great Yorkshire Show and the odd grizzly domestic murder – which was very enlightening for a callow lad from down south.

BM: What then?

NM: I was offered a job on the Daily Mail by what was then Fleet Street’s most glamorous journalist – Nigel Dempster. It was an extraordinary life for a young man meeting and talking to everyone from Dukes to Mrs Thatcher, Princess Diana, leading authors, show biz celebs like Sammy Davis Junior, mad rockers (Keith Moon) even the odd astronaut and Archbishop.  Twenty years later I had worked as a BBC reporter, a Mail on Sunday feature writer and as a signed columnist on the Sunday Times.

BM: An indulgent life?

NM: Certainly long lunches, parties in the evening. But you had the pressure of filling those blank pages ever day.

BM: So why PR?

NM: A long story!  But Fleet Street was beginning to contract and I felt a change was needed. My certain inside knowledge of the workings of Fleet Street gave me a terrific advantage in advising clients how to best get their message across to a sometimes sceptical audience.

BM: So what should a good PR have?

NM: Diplomatic skills, an insight and thorough understanding of his client’s business and the ability to sell in good stories on their behalf to the media. Plus creativity, an unquenchable curiosity and love of the media. The ability to dispense really valuable advice to a client.

BM: What do you enjoy about PR?

NM: The fact that you can act as an advocate for clients when they otherwise may not get a fair hearing. PRs are a conduit between client and consumer via the press.

BM: Outside the office?

NM: Keeping two teenage boys in the custom they believe they deserve, walking the dogs and thinking up the plot of my forthcoming best selling novel.

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