Adland Uncovered – Trade Press Editors Spill The Beans at Cannes Lions

Senior trade press editors debated the challenges of covering a fast-evolving industry and also the evolution of their own business models at the ‘Propeller At Cannes’ special panel event.

The future of print, the value of content, tailoring product for local markets and the convergence of creativity and technology all featured in the discussion.

The panel featured Claire Beale, global editor-in-chief of Campaign, Gordon Young, editor-in-chief of The Drum and Ruth Mortimer, content director at Centaur Media, who oversees brands such as Marketing Week, Creative Review, Econsultancy and Design Week.

With former Marketing editor Craig Smith, now marketing director of SapientNitro chairing, the audience had a peek under the bonnet of modern-day publishing and its pressures.

The editors agreed that print products still had a key role to play. Beale said:”Print offers a limited, curated product and there is immense value in that.”

However, there were differing opinions on how the media brands should operate in different markets. Campaign is in Asia, the US and Turkey and each territory has different media formats tailored to the local audience. 

But Young argued that a consistent approach for The Drum guided by a central editorial team made sense in a globalised business world.

Breaking news stories is important but Young pointed out that the most important thing now was being “fast off the mark” with analysis and added: “It is not so valuable  now to break news as it once was.”

Mortimer said that Marketing Week tried “to be about value, not volume” and added that she did not believe people only read one title but that they took information from a range of sources.

Regarding what kind of stories the publications were looking to cover Beale said: “You have to have something interesting to say.” Young added: “The key is to stand out, we are looking for the great ideas and fresh content suggestions or people coming with a different angle on a story.”

Mortimer added that she preferred it if people wanted to build a relationship with the editorial team. In terms of turn-offs rather than turn-ons she savaged any company describing themselves as “leading” in their press releases and called for people to do their research on each title’s audience before submitting stories so no-one’s time was wasted.