Excellent piece by Sindhu Nair, Managing Editor at Oryx Publishing and Advertising, who spoke with MediaSource about the company’s flagship news and business monthly Qatar Today, what she finds compelling in a pitch, and how PRs can improve their media relations.
Tell us about Qatar Today
Qatar Today is a monthly news and business publication that focuses on success stories of business leaders, both local and global, entrepreneurial insights and start-up stories, the banking industry, the changing economic landscape of Qatar, and the oil and gas industry. We offer expert analysis, along with ‘human centric’ stories that take us through the lives of the people who reside here.
The magazine launched in the 1970s and was one of the first English magazines in the country. It went through a major restructuring in terms of content and design with the turn of the millennium, and carries stories in the most reader-friendly format, with innovative content and a signature look and feel.
What other titles do you produce?
While Qatar Today is the flagship brand of the company, we also publish an Arabic magazine Qatar Alyoum which has a similar brief but carries more stories with a regional focus. The content of both magazines are kept separate, with only a few stories translated between them.
We also publish fashion magazine Glam; an interior and design magazine Glam Interior & Design, T-Qatar, which is a local edition of the New York Times Magazine; student community magazine Campus; and Progress, an annual coffee table book that sheds light on the changes the country has been through that year.
What is the best way to get in contact with you?
The best way to get in touch with us is through our correspondents, who can sight a good story in its infancy. An email usually works. If it didn’t, the story is of no value to us.
What type of press materials are you interested in receiving?
We are interested in financial insights which can be developed into a story worth reading. We do not, as a rule, carry promotional press releases.
What do you look for in a PR pitch?
Interesting trends that can be explored further by our writers and correspondents; something beyond a pure promotional write-up.
How far ahead is the magazine planned out – what are your deadlines?
We have our main stories planned for the year and the smaller stories are planned in the beginning of the month for our monthly magazines. We need all materials for stories we are working on before the middle of the month so we have time to work on them.
How can PRs best assist you?
By being respectful of our deadlines, constraints and editorial policies, and trying to build a relationship with us is foremost. Operating a transparent and efficient line of communication between us and their clients is also very helpful. If pitching, do so in a way that makes the PR unique and present a storyline that the magazine can pick up and expand.
How can PRs work with you better?
We have had examples of good PR, and some very bad ones too. I wish that the ‘PR pushers’ would first know more about what they are promoting, and also understand the magazines they are selling to. Approach the magazine with that knowledge and I assure you we will listen. All of us journalists do still get excited by a good story. But we just do not have the time or patience to entertain somebody who is clueless of what they are promoting.
What should PRs avoid when contacting you?
Please do not call us to ask if your press release has reached us. An email usually reaches the person it is meant for. Also never ask the editor to inform you whether the PR will be published. Honestly, does any editor call each person whose story is being published? Instead, get to know us, talk to us; we are extremely friendly most of the time, except when it is close to edition time. Another rule, never contact us close to edition time…