Rachel Millard has spent the last two years as an Energy Correspondent at The Telegraph. Recently, our media relations team caught up with Rachel and listened to her explain what the Telegraph’s journalists – and its readers – are looking for in an energy-related story.
What don’t you want to see?
Rachel says that there’s little room for corporate stories nowadays, the current energy crisis has made sure of that. She also says that, although the paper is very interested in how the crisis is affecting people, they are not so keen on surveys because the data is never conclusive enough. The only exception is if clear trends in information can be spotted.
So, what instead?
In lieu of surveys, Rachel says the paper loves to get in touch with experts on various topics. From the conversations had, they can then run features featuring high-quality information.
What themes are hot right now?
Obviously, energy is a much talked about topic at the moment. Rachel says The Telegraph is especially interested in stories that cover alternative fuels and ways to reduce our collective carbon output.
If you have a story about hydrogen, this will go down well – it’s a real hit with their readers. In particular, if they can get their hands on a new hydrogen project story, how it’s going and what kind of investment is involved.
Rachel also tells us the paper is very keen on all things nuclear. There’s something of a schism among European nations regarding nuclear energy right now, so this sector will be interesting to watch. Related to this, while regulatory changes can often be boring, anything that will have an impact on British household (or indeed industry) energy prices is sought after right now.
What’s more, Rachel and her colleague Emma Gatten, the paper’s Environment Editor, are always looking to cover stories on carbon capture. Any opportunity to sit down with an expert and get some insight into how viable the technology is, how development is progressing and whether or not it’s scalable is greatly valued. Rachel and Emma also love to hear about EV battery technology – something that, in one form or another, is shaping up to be the future of the automotive industry
How can PR people get in touch?
Of course, you can email a pitch over. If Rachel really takes to the story, she won’t hesitate to jump on a call and talk it through. Any chance to have a face-to-face with experts is a major win for the paper, just make sure you put ‘exclusive’ in the subject line if it is! However, she mentioned that it’s important you don’t follow up on your pitch – if the paper likes what you’ve submitted, they’ll get in touch.
What time is best for pitching?
The team will send over their thoughts to the news desk at 8:30am one day before the article is due to be published. As far as the best time to pitch, Rachel has a simple rule – the earlier you can get it in, the better. Thursdays are a no-go; this is the busiest time because 5:30pm is the deadline for Sunday’s paper.
If you want to pitch for the Sunday edition, Rachel recommends Monday so that the team can discuss the idea on Tuesday morning. However, she also emphasises that story strength is key, so it might be the case that a late pitch will make the cut if it’s interesting enough.
Written by: Katie Chodosh, Media Relations Director at Definition.