By Risha Tyagi, account supervisor, and Jack Fulton, intern
At RPG, we embrace curiosity and a growth mindset. We regularly share knowledge and learn from each other and encourage discussions about the communications industry and the clients we serve.
Reporter Bites is a conversation series that features open discussions with members of the media or top industry influencers. These conversations are goldmines for both the reporter and RPG, as they provide an open forum to discuss journalism, earned media and conversations that will matter in the future.
During our most recent edition of Reporter Bites, we welcomed Patrick McGee, a news correspondent at the Financial Times. Hailing from Canada, his career has taken him around the world, from New York and Frankfurt to Hong Kong and, now, San Francisco. Patrick’s career started with a focus on financial topics, even though he had no interest in mathematics growing up (not surprising for many of us in the communications industry).
Patrick’s main coverage focuses on Apple and other disruptive technology. He also covers topics he’s personally passionate about, including autonomous automobiles, drones, and fitness technology. He always looks for ways to write about the next great technology innovation.
Patrick gravitates towards in-depth narratives that bring a company’s story to life for readers from all walks of life. These stories allow him to showcase the broader landscape and a range of viewpoints. Patrick believes that “good stories should be coherent to any educated reader, but interesting even to an expert.”
Patrick’s authenticity and enthusiasm were on full display throughout our conversation. His fast pace meshes well with his ability to articulate complex ideas.
The Pandemic’s Impact on Journalism
It’s important to remember that journalists grapple with the same challenges as the rest of us as they juggle work and life. The pandemic has forced Patrick to be more selective with in-person meetings, visits, and tours and he is keen to check out some of the newest technology being used. To recharge his batteries, he takes “artistic breaks” to go on walks, runs and most importantly, enjoys spending time with his children at the park.
Some things haven’t changed. Narrative-driven stories still can take months to develop with slow and steady progress made on a weekly basis. He reminded us that there is no noteworthy distinction between print and digital articles. Some see print coverage as more prestigious, but digital subscriptions drive revenue for media outlets.
Working with PR Professionals
In contrast to the sometimes reported friction between earned media practitioners and media, Patrick was generally positive about his relationships. He makes note when people reference what he’s written and why a specific topic is of interest to his readers—basic best practice in our view.
He was also clear about what works and doesn’t for busy reporters. Good pitches cut to the chase and highlight what’s unique. Companies who are willing to put customers at the center of the story—and let him speak with them—usually win favor. And he encouraged our team to continue to “find topics and angles that slip through the cracks” and be clear about how clients are relevant in those conversations. We’ve included a few of his favorite stories, below.
Our discussion with Patrick was upbeat, insightful, and valuable for the RPG team. Stay tuned for more highlights from our Reporter Bites sessions in the weeks ahead.
Patrick McGee’s Favorite Stories
- Robotaxis: have Google and Amazon Backed the wrong Technology?, Financial Times, July 18, 2021
- Can Germany Survive the ‘iPhone Moment’ for Cars?, Financial Times, October 22, 2018
- Carmakers Take Electric Fight to the Factory Floor, Financial Times, March 18, 2021
About the Authors
Risha manages a wide range of PR activities and provides strategic direction and counsel for future and ongoing media, analyst, influencer, speaking, and award programs. She is passionate about telling the right story to the right audience and brings a powerful combination of educational and professional experience from diverse backgrounds.
Jack is responsible for supporting media relations and content development programs by identifying macro industry trends and the media covering them. He is passionate about brand storytelling that is built on research, data and insights.