Gorkana Insight & Analysis Team
Gorkana meets...Daily Record
David McCann, assistant news editor at the Daily Record, on searching for that jaw-dropping story, exclusives being king and his tumultuous relationship with PRs.
You joined the Daily Record in March. How have you found the change from the Edinburgh Evening News?
It's been a rather seamless transition to be honest. There are a lot of similarities. Exclusive is king at both titles and each is brimming with top reporters so it hasn't been much of a culture shock.
As a national newspaper, the Glasgow-based Record has more resources at its disposal than the Evening News. I'm still living in Edinburgh so one of the biggest headaches has been running the gauntlet of the M8 every morning, rather than falling out of my bed and into the newsroom.
Tell us about the team.
They really are a thoroughly impressive bunch with bags of talent. Good blend of experience and youthful exuberance.
What is your main focus when it comes to content?
Tales of scandal, corruption and hypocrisy will whet the appetite of any newsdesk. Our daily bread is jaw-dropping stories examining real issues affecting real people. Each should be illustrated with striking images. The Record is big on crime and exposés but, of course, events in Scottish football will play a huge role shaping daily content.
Another staple is the paper's exceptional political coverage - both at Westminster with Torcuil Crichton and at Holyrood through David Clegg and Andy Philip.
Do all Daily Record stories need to have a strong Scottish element to them?
In a word, yes.
What does an average day look like?
6am: Pore over morning papers and relevant websites. Liaise with digital team to update overnight stories on website and upload fresh content.
10am: Bulk of reporters arrive. Skeleton of the paper is pieced together at morning conference.
Noon onwards: Phones ring, interviews begin, facts are checked and keyboards tapped.
How many print readers do you have compared to digital readers?
I am told Record Online attracts 7.5 million unique users. In print, circulation has dipped slightly below 200,000 daily copies.
Much of what is published in the paper will appear on the website but there is an increasing emphasis on producing online-only content. The digital department has itself expanded relatively recently.
How would you describe your relationship with PRs?
How best can PRs help the team with content?
By understanding the culture and demands of the newspaper.
Three top tips for PRs when pitching?
- Don't pitch up just before or during editors' conference when the newsroom is in flux.
- Be relevant.
- Try to source case studies (willing to be pictured) to support your content.
What are absolute PR no nos?
- Don't call a busy newsdesk asking if a piece has been published. It's lazy. Check for yourself.
- Don't renege on exclusivity.
- Be sensible with embargoes. Enforcing publishing restrictions on non-entity stories is just embarrassing.
The paper picked up the sports team of the year gong at the British Press Awards this year. What do you think is its strongest asset?
Sport is a terrific department and has been rightly feted. But the Record has had an exceptional year scooping a string of gongs at the Scottish Press Awards, including the biggest prize of the night: Newspaper of the Year.
The spotlight has been firmly on Scotland in the last few years with the Commonwealth Games and referendum. What do you think will be the big stories keeping Scotland in the limelight over the next few years?
The constitutional question will be the biggest story in town for years to come.