IPRS Visits - SPH Media

The IPRS Industry Visits are an ongoing feature and event for our members to get behind the scenes into the belly of organisations to understand how things work from strategy to implementation. IPRS Members were invited to visit to the SPH News Centre, where they were given a tour of the venue and a primer on how SPH Media operations in a digital world where news comes in 24/7 and  a constant bombarded readership, both local and regional alike. 

Below is a summary of the QnA session held afterwards with a panel of editors, journalists and the content producers from the Straits Times (ST) in attendance.

How can we make it easier for Journalists to work with PR practitioners?

When sending in media pitches, think of what excites the reader. Build a relationship with the journalists to get an idea of whether your story would be attractive, or figure out the best timing to send in your stories for best impact.

Pitches for vids need to be different from news desk. Action, visual come first. Focus on what you can show, not tell. Try to ensure sufficient lead time for the video to be produced (at least a week in advance depending on the complexity of the situation, maybe weeks.)

Think more broadly - consider reaching out to other platforms within ST. Consumers on print might not necessarily be the audience you are looking for.

How can we make stories more appealing for regional readership?

ST's core is still within Singapore. There is demand regionally, for english language news coverage. YT has varied regional reach, which shapes video production to some extent. For instance, depending on their data, ST Videos may include more SEA/ US examples depending on its audience. 

Is there a news cycle for ST digital?
Long story short, there is no cycle.  Teams operate in shifts (ie. Late shift team may operate during twilight hours to monitor regional/ international updates, while some teams are based abroad).

Meanwhile, ST's visual team focuses more about evergreen concepts, focusing on memorability, and more novel concepts. This eventually goes past press release and breaking news, and is dependent on PR professionals providing more access to domain experts, behind the scenes situations, etc to allow them to craft their story. 

When does ST decide when to do a follow up story?

This is dependent on data (if there is demand for the story, journalist availability and again access. For certain situations, there might also be sensibilities, government bodies involved, and so on to consider. ST will usually try to do a follow-up if it is possible and there is interest, but the newsroom must keep moving regardless.

When pitching, is it better to approach the journalist directly or the central news desk?

Both work, but it is generally preferred for stories to be first sent to the news desk, so that stories can be allocated to the appropriate teams. If directly pitching to the journalist, try to include the news desk in your pitch so that they are at least aware of the story.