Archive for July, 2006

Journalists – A Day in the Life of…

Following on from my last post and my quest to find a media contact list at the The Sydney Morning Herald, I found this gem…

Entitled “A Day in the Life of The Sydney Morning Herald”, this treasure trove timeline, gives you real insight into the frenetic, frantic & frenzied timeframes that have to be met by editors and journalists in order to publish a daily newspaper.

Just click on the link below…
A Day in the Life of SMH

So next time you ring a daily newspaper checking to see if they’ve got your news release, now you can check to make sure that you’re not ringing right on deadline (this is the surest way of annoying a journalist! PQ)

Publicity Queen  Yours in publicity


Media Contact List for The Age

I’m just in the midst of doing a publicity campaign for Alperstein Designs and their gorgeous BBQ aprons for men, and in the process have re-united myself with this wonderful resource on The Age‘s website…

It’s a comprehensive list of all the editors, journalists, photographers, cartoonists etc etc who work at The Age.  In two words, it’s… ROYALLY GRAND! (Perhaps I need a better catch cry???).

Here it is… (just click on the logo below)
The Age
The bad news is that The Age’s sister sites, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian Financial Review (these are all Fairfax publications) don’t have the same resource!

Alas, for those of you who want to get publicity in Melbourne – this is a sensational list that you should add to your favourites.

Publicity Queen  Yours in publicity

Publicity with Pictures

Here are some more wise words from Jaime Murcia…

PQ What is it that Editors look for in photos?
Jaime The photo has to be connected to the subject matter of the story and give a strong sense of what the story is about.  A great photo will help bring the story to life and give the reader a visual representation of the words – and ideally, an emotional response too.

PQ Is a story without a photo dropped before one with a photo if space is tight?
Jaime Yes.  By and large, words will get cut before a photo, particulary if the publication has commissioned the shot.  It depends on the media of course, but rather than drop a story with a pic, the Editor might opt to cut the story right down and leave the photo in tact.

PQ To get a run in the media, what must a photo have?
Jaime First of all forget film – most media now is set-up to use digital photos, so don’t bother sending in transparencies with your news release, use digital files.

So on the technical side, there are some golden rules with digital photography.  Make sure that for magazines, your file is high resolution and is at least 300 dpi (that’s dot per inch, PQ) and for newspapers it should be around the 140 dpi mark.

If the file size is too small, they can’t stretch it and it won’t get used because it’ll be too soft.

The bottom line is, media needs to fill space constantly and if you give them the right stuff, they’ll use it.

PQ Does a good shot increase your chances of getting publicity?
Jaime I think it does – photos make a publication more appealing to readers.  If you’ve got a good little story and you send it in with a great photo, you’ll increase your chances like crazy.

And here’s a tip… when taking your ‘great’ photo consider it from an editorial point-of-view rather than a flat and boring approach.  Think about ways that you can add a twist to the picture that will add another dimension to its interest factor – boring is bad!

PQ What are your top tips for a business owner when taking a photo to submit to the media?
Jaime First tip is – think twice about taking the photo yourself!  If you’ve invested significant resources into bringing a product or service to market, then it makes sense to invest in a photographer who can take pictures that do justice to your investment.

Second tip is to think of a good ‘hook’ for your photo – don’t make it too cheesy, but get certainly get the creative juices flowing.

I’d also suggest that you make the photo strong and clean – don’t clutter it up with too much detail, it shouldn’t be too busy.

And lastly, send in a couple of options.  Perhaps you’ve taken similar shots but from different angles and with different lighting – send in these different interpretations because it increases your chances of one being suitable to the style of the publication.

PQ Ok, last question, can you show us some examples of your work?

Tammy van Wisse

Jaime This photo of Tammy van Wisse, the long distance swimmer is probably one of my all-time favourites – it was even runner-up in the Melbourne Press Club’s Quill Awards for Best Editorial Photograph.

This photo was taken in the middle of winter (I felt guilty asking her to get into the water) and I used artificial light to highlight the incredible sunset.  I wanted to give the feeling that she could have been alone anywhere in the middle of the ocean.

And I vividly remember this shoot too because I was busy trying not to get salt water on my $6,000 camera and not get electrocuted with the battery flash the assistant was holding in waist-deep water!

PQ Thanks so much Jaime for sharing your insights – it’s been wonderful.

Don’t forget to visit Jaime’s website for more examples of his work at

And if you need a great corporate portrait taken, then visit Jaime’s new site,

Publicity Queen  Yours in publicity

Inside Information from an Editorial Photographer

Jaime Murcia

I recently spent some time with one of Australia’s most talented Editorial Photographers – he’s taken photos for The Australian Financial Review, BRW, Inside Sport, New Woman and Melbourne Weekly (just to name a few) as well as newspapers and their magazines such as Herald Sun, Sunday Life and Good Weekend.

Our illustrious Editorial Photographer is the superb Mr Jaime Murcia and you can visit his website at

PQ Why did you want to become an Editorial Photographer?
Jaime  I was inspired by a photographer in the 1980s who’d been to Iran and had taken some amazingly powerful shots of the country post-war.  The shots were published in the The Age and National Geographic and when I saw them, they were my motivation for getting into photography.  I was working as a Doorman at Parliament House at the time and had a young family to support so I couldn’t afford the time or money for formal qualifications.  What I used to do, was take my young son out in the pram and wander about the streets of Prahran taking photos, experimenting with lighting and composition. Over time, I built-up the technical knowledge and confidence on how to take a good shot.

PQ What was your first experience in working for the media?
Jaime When I was learning, I took a photo of an electricity substation with a hole in the fence and it got a run in the local newspaper.  While I didn’t get paid for it, I was rapt and on my way!

PQ So how did you break into the media?
Jaime My first paying job was with the Herald Sun where I got a couple of freelance days.  From there I did some photo essays that got published in QANTAS’s The Australian Way and Inside Sport.  I then was able to secure some freelance work with The Australian Financial Review and from there I was offered a position with Melbourne Weekly.

PQ How are photos worked into the production of a print publication?
Jaime At Melbourne Weekly for example, we’d have a weekly meeting to talk about the contents of the next issue.  We’d discuss the possible cover story and photo ideas and from there I’d start booking the people I needed and go and take the shot.

There’s lots of people involved in the selection of photographs in a newspaper or magazine – firstly there’s people like me, the photographers and we report to the Picture Editor who works closely with the Art Director who works closely with the Editor.  So sometimes, each of these four professionals will have an opinion on how to make the most of the photo for the story – it can become quite a complex decision at times!

What I always try to do is get information about the story that the photo is to accompany and develop ways that I can take the shot that adds strength and power to the words.  I also like to compose a few different shots of the subject, even if I’m using the same elements and this way I can offer the Picture Editor, Art Director and Editor a few different options.

But in the end it’s the Editor who has the responsibility to make the final decision on the cover and then it’s up to the Art Director to make the photo work.

In the next entry, I’ll show you an example of Jaime’s work and he’s going to tell us how important photographs are when trying to get publicity, so make sure you keep tuned in…

Publicity Queen  Yours in publicity

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