Spa PR talks Journalism with PA Media’s Katie Wright

Here at The Spa PR Company, we work with journalists on a daily basis and have formed key relationships across the industry. We’re pleased to have recently caught up with PA Media’s Fashion & Beauty Editor, Katie Wright for her take on the industry, her experience and advice for aspiring journalists.

  • How did you start in the journalism industry?

I did a career change. After about five years working in the corporate social responsibility department in John Lewis head office I started blogging in my spare time, writing about fashion and beauty. I went down to four days a week at John Lewis and got work experience at PA, which turned into a freelance role. After a couple of years the Fashion and Beauty Editor role came up, I applied and got the job.

  • Brief overview of how PA Media works? (e.g. is it reactive to news trends, planned in advance etc)

My role it essentially split in two: print and digital, covering both fashion and beauty. Print features go out on the Wire to 80 UK regional papers, while digital features go out to our online customers.

Digital features are very much reactive, responding to lifestyle/celebrity/topical trends in the news. Print features are more based on seasonal/catwalk trends.

  • Describe a typical day in your role

First thing in the morning I pitch a few reactive ideas to my digital editor based on what’s going on in the news that day and we decide which feature I will write then I file the piece the same day. Then I’ll be working on print features that are planned a few weeks in advance, doing celebrity and expert interviews and calling in products, images and quotes to go alongside my copy.

  • What’s your favourite part of your job?

On the beauty side, my favourite topic to write about is fragrance, I’m always on the hunt for my new favourite scent and I love trying all the new launches. Before the pandemic one of the best perks of my job was that I got to do travel press trips and I also loved writing those features too, it’s a different challenge writing about a destination rather than a product or trend.

  • What separates a good and a bad PR pitch?

Relevance. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been sent pitches for topics I don’t cover – my title is fashion and beauty editor and those are (for the most part) my areas of interest. Similarly I get a lot of pitches for trends that I’ve already written about, sometimes months or years before – I’m generally always looking for new season trends or the next big thing rather a topic/trend that’s been around for a while.

  • How can PRs guarantee coverage for their Fashion and Beauty brands? What type of stories does PA Media look for e.g. trend led etc?

I look for a mix of brand new and emerging trends for digital, and seasonal/catwalk trends for print. Some topics I’ll cover every year such as Valentine’s day gifting, SPF in summer and, of course, Christmas, so for those I’m looking for new launches/innovations. Celebrity interview opportunities are also great as long as quotes are exclusive to PA, same goes for expert quotes.

  • Any advice for aspiring journalists?

Work experience was so valuable for me. We don’t take people on placements anymore unfortunately but I can tell you that when we did and someone came in who was competent, confident and hardworking we really noticed. If you can impress on a placement editors will remember you when it comes to job opportunities down the line so get as much work experience as you can, say yes to everything when you’re there (within reason!) and prove your worth.