John Hughman, editor of Investors Chronicle, talks about his passion for well-researched, analytical and long-form journalism, and the opportunities for PR professionals to contribute to the financial publication.
Where do you get the majority of your news?
As an investment magazine, most of our coverage is driven by quoted companies updating the market via the Regulatory News Service. We don’t really report it as straight news though – the value our readers get from the IC is our interpretation of it. Strong fact-based analysis as opposed to ‘celebrity’ opinion – of which I think there is far too much – is very powerful.
What are your immediate priorities for Investors Chronicle?
We’re working on a new website at the moment which will make it easier to navigate the huge amount of analysis we produce. From a content perspective, the main priority at the moment is helping our readers cut through the media and market noise to navigate the pitfalls and opportunities the referendum has brought, and the wider challenges of lower-for-longer interest rates.
What do you wish PRs would remember when pitching to you?
Please don’t pitch. If a press release catches our eye we’ll be in touch.
What’s your definition of a fruitful PR relationship?
PRs do a really great job of getting us time with the company or fund managers we need to speak to. The best firms understand that we’re not always going to write glowing reports about their clients’ financial performance, because our job is to kick the tyres in the interests of our readership. We’ll always try to be fair, of course, and equally PRs and their clients should be open, honest and responsive.
What’s unique about Investors Chronicle?
As a weekly publication I don’t think there’s any magazine that covers the UK investment markets in as much depth as we do, and certainly not for as long as we have – 156 years and counting. Much of our content is – and always has been – educational, and often quite technical, which is why we’re read by those in the finance industry as well as sophisticated high net worth private investors. In this era of pension freedom I think we’ve got an important role to play.
Are you interested in video content?
Decreasingly so. We’re finding that podcasts are much more popular among our audience – they can stick them on and get on with something else at the same time as listening. Besides which, video is a very unforgiving format that takes too much time and money to meet the standards audiences expect. We will continue to do video, but short-form, snap-reaction videos filmed at the Bloomberg terminal work much better for us.
What do you love most about journalism?
I’ve always been a big fan of well-researched, long-form journalism and admire any publications that still have the patience to invest in it. Sadly, I think financial pressures are pushing publishers towards low-quality formats designed to pull in as many clicks as possible, like twitter roundups or ‘10 things’ type article. That looks like a race to the bottom to me.