Travel Weekly Group head of news and Travolution editor covering all aspects of UK travel
industry. Dad of three, rugby league fan, bit posh for a northerner.
WHAT LED YOU TO START WORKING IN DIGITAL/MEDIA PUBLISHING?
The evolution of the web as an influential and direct platform for audience engagement was pushing us in the direction of digital publishing as a B2B media organisation and then I became editor of our digital travel industry title Travolution in 2010 which required me to develop more of a specialism not only in terms of the area I am covering but in the ways we produce content and publish it.
WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE FOR YOU?
There’s rarely a typical day when you’re dealing with news in the travel industry, but I do oversee the creation and publishing of Travel Weekly’s daily 9 am breakfast news alert, so my day starts early at around 6.30am when I get online at home to curate the content for what has established itself as the leading news digest for our industry. We pride ourselves on consistency, not just in terms of the quality of the content but that it is properly curated with our online audience in mind and it arrives on time each day of the working week. Once it’s sent I set off for the office and rest of the day depends on which day of the week it is as we still have our weekly print deadline schedule that culminates with a Tuesday deadline. Under the Travolution brand, we send out news alerts on Wednesday and Friday afternoons.
WHAT’S YOUR WORK SETUP LOOK LIKE?
Our systems are quite diverse and fragmented. I use Tweetdeck to monitor the main Travel Weekly Group Twitter accounts and HootSuite from time to time to publish on Twitter and LinkedIn. HootSuite is used by our web team to time and manages our social output more generally. I’m also usually logged into Facebook to post directly on to groups’ pages that are relevant to the travel sector. I also have a work iPhone, so regularly use the Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn apps and have most of the main news provider apps on my phone. For web publishing, we have recently moved to WordPress and I now have this on my phone also in case something needs to be done out of hours or on the move. Our email platform is also provided by a third party division of Salesforce and we have a different CMS for print. On the news desk, we’ve recently started using Google docs for things like an updatable news list. I have a dictaphone app downloaded on my phone for recording conversations or presentations, although I generally prefer taking shorthand notes.
I read a lot of social media posts from people in and associated with our sector. I also enjoy reading a daily paper each morning on my commute to work but most of all I like the face-to-face side of the job, having unplanned conversations at events and conferences with good contacts or people you meet for the first time.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PIECE OF WRITING OR QUOTE?
It’s a travel-related quote from Mark Twain dated 1869, which Expedia uses as corporate inspiration:
Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.
WHAT IS THE PASSIONATE PROBLEM YOU ARE TACKLING AT THE MOMENT?
We’re looking at how we do more with our social media presence. As an organisation we have a significant competitive advantage in terms of our reach and engagement on platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn but this has developed organically as the result of our regular day to day activity and we have not really put a proper strategy in place to understand how much more meaningful we can make this both in terms of our influence and what that means for our partners in the industry. As part of that, we want to look at how we can exploit our ability to create valuable rich digital content like images and video.
IS THERE A PRODUCT, SOLUTION OR TOOL THAT MAKES YOU THINK IT IS A GOOD DESIGN FOR YOUR DIGITAL PUBLISHING EFFORTS?
All the products listed in the above answer do their bit and are generally good at what they do, the question is is there something that can consolidate them into a single interface without compromising functionality.
ANY ADVICE FOR AMBITIOUS DIGITAL PUBLISHING AND MEDIA PROFESSIONALS JUST STARTING OUT?
Don’t underestimate the value of core journalism skills and getting out from behind a computer and engaging with people in the real world but understand that the native skills you have developed growing up with the internet and social media are bankable skills which many of your future bosses have had to learn.