A (virtual) coffee with… David Coates, Business Editor of the Lancashire Evening Post
David Coates is Business Editor of the Lancashire Evening Post (LEP) – my local newspaper. He’s been at the paper for just under 5 years, going from Business Reporter to Business Editor. The LEP has been around for over 120 years and is easily the newspaper of choice for people and businesses in the area. www.lep.co.uk was named NW Daily Newspaper Website of the Year. The LEP comes out Monday – Saturday.
Why did you choose journalism as a career?
It was the only thing I was any good at! When I was at school, English was the only subject I enjoyed and football was my obsession, so sports journalism was an obvious choice.
When I finished college I was left with a choice, try and get a job as a raw, enthusiastic trainee or go to university.
I chose the former and got promised a job, aged 17-and-three-quarters, at my local paper down in Yeovil, Somerset – if I completed my NCTJ qualifications.
I did, got the job, sports journalism developed into news journalism and then business journalism – and the rest is history.
Thoughts on the north-west media scene?
The North West has a stronger regional media scene than the vast majority of other parts of the country.
We have some famous old papers, the M.E.N, the Echo and Post in Liverpool, Lancashire Telegraph, North West Mail – and the LEP, of course.
But, as with any media scene, it’s having to change; and with the possible exception of London, it’s leading the way.
I can recall the M.E.N having video content and obviously Channel M before many regionals had even thought about it, the LEP was Johnston Press’s pilot paper for its new media revolution, etc.
Perhaps it’s a bit of northern grit, but I can see the North West’s media scene being here long after others have gone.
Noticed any changes in the tone and volume of business-related press releases sent to you over the last two years?
Business has jumped up the agenda due to the recession and that’s not gone unnoticed to the world of PR and marketing.
The volume of press releases I receive has always been high – you cannot leave my inbox unattended more than half-a-day before it gets shut down due to too many emails – and the tone is definitely more advice driven than news driven.
Career highlights so far?
I got my dream job reporting on my football team, Yeovil Town, but after two years in it, decided to fly the nest and run away to the other end of the country to Lancashire.
I’ve met some fascinating people in this job, Terry Wogan was one of my favourites, although Ken Clarke I liked as well, both people with real personality.
But, I would add, some of the most interesting people are the small business people I talk to every week; many of their stories beat the ‘celebrities’ hands down.
Advice for PRs?
My one bugbear with PRs is too many don’t think about what they’re sending before they send it, whether that’s an email, a letter, making a phone call or whatever.
The amount of times I’ve had PRs calling about a story “in my area” in Manchester, which hasn’t been Lancashire for more than 35 years!
Think: What is the recipient’s circulation area and does this story fit it?
If it doesn’t, don’t send it. Rant over.
Advice for wannabe journalists?
Get experience of doing the job. Qualifications are great but there’s no substitute for experience, the quality of cuttings in your portfolio could be you and the next person going into your interview.
It’s got to be newspapers. I spend my entire day staring at a computer screen and find a newspaper light relief; I can’t imagine that ever changing.
That’s not to say I don’t listen to the radio, watch television (I’m addicted to BBC News 24) and look online.
I’ve had an on-off relationship with Twitter, which has become more ‘on’ after recently getting an iPhone, but need to learn to harness social networking and blogging more.
Can’t live without: coffee, paper, or tweet
Coffee. As any of my colleagues will tell you, I’m addicted to the stuff – no, really, I think I need help!
Saying that, I would not want to do without newspapers and tweeting, well, we’re getting to know each other, as I say.
Telephone: 01772 838162