It’s Thursday, the quietest day of the week. We went to press last night, so it’s that short period between when the paper has gone to bed and when the complaints start to come in.
I’m looking for a reporter, so I use the lull to deal with the big pile of unopened CVs.
I divide them into two piles and drop one lot straight in the bin. This has a couple of benefits: first, time spent on the job is halved, and second, it means I’ll automatically be hiring a lucky reporter.
This week’s edition of Media Week included our first annual “Power 50” list of the most influential people on the business side of the media. It’s not dissimilar to the “Power 50” we used to do on Hospital Doctor, which I edited until six months ago. Over the rest of the day I receive a steady stream of e-mails from my former colleagues accusing me of plagiarism, to which I cheerfully admit.
I finish the day chasing the cleaner to rescue the unread CVs from her bin bags.
Friday, and a day out of the office. As we are in darkest Croydon, and most of our contacts are within a couple of square miles of Soho, this is a regular trip.
Still, after my recent move from Reed Business Information in Sutton, I am one of the few people for whom a move to Croydon is a step up in the world.
The day begins with a breakfast meeting, which is still a newish concept to me, and means a painfully early start to get to Central London for an 8am meeting. But at least I have managed to break my habit of getting up for breakfast meetings on autopilot and eating before I leave the house.
Today, it’s smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, along with a couple of cups of Earl Grey tea, with the ad manager of a major poster company.
I hear just how bitter the rivalries in the outdoor ad industry can be.
Then it’s on to a quick meeting in a hotel lobby with the chief executive of a local newspaper company. There is no immediate story but it is useful to get some background information on their future acquisition plans, along with a nice cup of tea.
Next stop, after getting a bit lost, is a half-hour meeting with a PR man whose clients include a big consumer magazine publisher. Over a cup of tea, he agrees to set up an opinion piece for us.
Lunch is at the Criterion with a regulatory bigwig. Last time I was at the restaurant, I set fire to my newspaper on a candle while I was waiting for my guest. By those dismal standards, the lunch goes excellently, in that there are no infernos. We finish the meal with a cup of tea and say cheerio.
By now I’m sloshing, as I enjoy yet another cuppa with the new business director of a media agency.
By 4.30pm it is a blazing hot day, which is nice, as I’m heading to the Oval for Surrey versus Middlesex in the first day of the Twenty20 cricket contest. I’m there to see a new bit of technology that sends pictures of the game to mobile phones. The combination of sunshine and free beer is a good way to ease into the weekend.
It’s the usual big Monday postbag. There are several bizarre items, including a whoopee cushion from Yahoo, and a T-shirt with a frog on the front.
A large, but very light cardboard box contains an inflatable balloon from The Sun crowing about its circulation increase. Also in the box is a deflated balloon with the Mirror’s masthead on. Previous gifts to staff have ranged from fur handcuffs to fridges full of champagne.
Monday sees our main news meeting of the week, which we hold in Starbucks. We’re short staffed, so we keep it brief. There’s a reasonable story we can build up for our splash, but I’d rather something bigger came in.
I go to a couple of internal meetings to talk about feature plans and a major conference we are holding next year.
The day ends near Green Park, reviewing a restaurant for our Watering Hole column. I get lost trying to find the tube home.
I open a couple of intriguing invitations. In my previous existence on local papers, pretty much the only jolly I was offered was a PR trip to see the Walsall illuminations.
The media world is a little more lavish. The past few weeks have seen a trip to the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona, along with a ridiculous number of golf invites. It’s a shame I don’t play.
This week’s invitations include various parties to celebrate launches, relaunches or anniversaries, most of which I turn down. I’m deeply tempted by the CNN yachting trip but I start to mournfully write an e-mail to decline as it’s on a press day. Then I spot that a load of agency bigwigs are going, so it’s enough of a contact building opportunity to justify the time.
Meanwhile, our standby splash is building up, but I’m hopeful that something bigger will come in.
Tonight, it’s dinner with the head of sales for a satellite television station. I’m a couple of minutes late after getting lost finding the restaurant.
Press day. We don’t have an extraordinary splash, but the piece we’ve been building up has come together nicely enough. It’s very smooth and we go to press about half-an-hour early.
I’m back on the train to London for a do at a venture capital company where the speaker is from a magazine publishing firm. After I slip away I spend an aimless 10 minutes lost in the back streets of Covent Garden.