Media Relations


Media Relations

Professionally managing media relations

For many, it is like dealing with the devil.

The idea of speaking to journalists is enough to turn some to stone.

It shouldn’t. As a former journalist, Onside PR founder James Fletcher can provide assurance. Journalists are actually human beings. Honestly.

They eat, sleep and do all the things that you do. And, the majority have a family and a heart. Yeah. A heart and feelings and everything.

But they have a job to do. Just as you do.

And if you don’t understand their job, the ‘game’ that is the media, then beware of the pitfalls.

Having worked for some many years as a journalist, we get it. We understand what they need. What you need. And we are ideally placed to find a position that suits all parties.

Journalist to journalist. No nonsense. No rubbish. Just honesty.

Onside PR founder James Fletcher personally deals with media relations. He is a journalist first and foremost with a solid reputation.

His word is trusted. Respected. Sometimes it means having to deal with matters we would rather not.

But we never dodge, we never duck. And we would never deceive a fellow journalist.

What makes our position unique is our experience across all forms of national newspaper.

Onside PR founder Fletcher began his career as a news journalist in London with The Daily Mirror and moved to the back pages to follow his passion, as a football writer.

This experience – of both the front and back of the book – is pretty much unparalleled in national newspapers and provides a unrivalled insight.

delimiter image

News Headlines

Schooled by Fleet Street legends

Onside PR founder James Fletcher learned his craft from some of the finest news journalists to have ever graced Fleet Street.

Fleet Street will always be the spiritual home for British journalism, even if the newsrooms have long since abandoned the street of shame.

And Fletcher was lucky enough to join the Mirror as a young reporter aged just 21, having earned his spurs at local and then regional newspapers.

The Mirror then was based at One Canada Square, Canary Wharf. The newsroom was filled with the great and the good of British newspapers.

Legends such as James Whitaker, Harry Arnold, Don Mackay, Jill Palmer, Jeff Edwards, John Pilger, Matthew Wright and of course, Piers Morgan and many, many more.

The newsdesk was tough, uncompromising, but led by some of the brightest, sharpest minds in British journalism including Eugene Duffy, Dave Leigh and Mark ‘Gonzo’ Ellis.

It was a tough place. Age or lack of experience was no excuse. Do or die. Get the story or don’t. And learn to live amongst the Fleet Street pack who tear you apart to get the story, and then get the beers in as soon as the whistle had blown.

Princess Diana’s funeral, the Gulf War, celebrity interviews, stories of crime, court cases, even dressing as a Fox to protect Tony Blair during the 1997 General Election! This was an education gained on the hoof from some of the greatest journalist minds around.

Kelvin MacKenize was upstairs editing L!VE TV, a 24/ rolling satellite channel with weather forecasting dwarfs bouncing on trampolines, the financial headlines ready by swimwear model Tiffany Bannister who would strip to her underwear as she read ‘Tiffanys Big City Tips’, ‘Topless Darts‘ and ‘The Weather in Norwegian‘ red by the beautiful Anne Marie Foss.

News Bunny, a man dressed as a giant rabbit, would appear during news broadcasts to give a thumbs up or a thumbs down to the stories. It was an amazing time to be a news journalist.

delimiter image

Sports Journalism

Hold the back page

Onside PR founder James Fletcher was honoured to work alongside some of the world’s finest sportswriters.

He lived out his childhood dream to become a football writer travelling the globe reporting on the fortunes of Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool and England.

As Chief Northern Football Writer of The News of the World and The Mirror, Fletcher was privileged to work on a daily basis with the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson, David Beckham, Ryan Giggs and Wayne Rooney to mentioned just a few.

He worked with leading managers, players, agents, directors and owners and closely with sponsors, PR companies and marketeers all trying to secure media coverage.

World Cups, the Premiership, Champions League, major championships and pre-season tours were all part of Fletcher’s brief, as were other sporting occasions including Wimbledon, the Commonwealth Games, the Ryder Cup and international cricket.

Undoubtedly, the greatest part of the job was having the ability to work alongside brilliant journalists across all forms of media, but particularly print and latterly digital journalists.

Legends such as Bob Cass, Joe Melling, Steve Curry, Brian Woolnough, ‘fearless’ Danny Fullbrook and Hugh McIlvanney have sadly passed, but the likes of Jonathan Norcroft, Henry Winter, Oliver Kay, Danny Taylor, David McDonnell, Ian Ladyman and Neil Custis continue to dominate back page headlines, and crucially remain friends.

Onside PR founder Fletcher remains a proud member of the Football Writers Association and is a twice former winner of the FWA Golf Day, the prestigious Joe Melling trophy.

delimiter image

News Desks

Making headlines

To understand the pressure of a news or sports desk, you have to have served one.

Aside from maybe running a nursery full of toddlers who have just learned to walk, there really isn’t anything else like it. The point here is that there are a million things happening all at once.

Stories are breaking around the world every minute of the day. How do you react, which ones do you react too? The pressure is intense and the ‘desk’ is the engine, the war room, the hub of all operations.

Reporters need to be dispatched and managed, copy read, decisions made on which stories to run, freelancers, agencies, newspapers executives, senior management, there is never a moment to relax.

Readers ring in with tips, to vent their anger about missing supplements, bingo cards or sometimes just because they feel they can.

And then, of course, there are the PRs. Those friendly chirpy souls who are oblivious to the fact that a major news story is breaking, that there may be things other than their ‘Staycation’ press release for the desk to worry about.

I actually worry for some of those PRs. Depending on who took their call they were mostly dispatched with a deluge of expletives and probably went home to have a good cry afterwards. Timing and understanding. Very few have it.

Onside PR founder James Fletcher regularly provide cover on the news desk, sitting in as Night News Editor and then in 2010 returning to The Mirror for a year to cover the Assistant News Editor position.

This experience provides Onside PR clients in invaluable insight and understanding.

Some Of Our Work

How Can We Help You?