Briefing Notes: MailOnline

Ritchie Cogan
Ritchie Cogan 30th October 2015

IBT briefing with MailOnline  October 2015


Marianna Partasides  Deputy News Editor

Key contacts:  deputy news editor health editor science and technology editor global editor head of video show business editor femail editor


The key point to remember is that MailOnline is not The Daily Mail. Although they share a newsroom and the site runs Daily Mail stories it does not have the Mail’s political agenda; it is not anti-aid; it is not sceptical about climate change. It has a huge readership and is not just read by Daily Mail readers.

Its USP is that there is something for everyone – lots of celeb stories, lots of fun content to share, but also lots of news stories. Often the news stories have more hits than the celeb stories. Readers may come to the site initially for the celeb content but they quickly graduate onto other parts of the site. There’s a lot on the site and stories often run at some length. Videos are common too. A key aspect of the site is its use of pictures. Whilst occasionally a story will run without pictures, this is quite rare.

The MailOnline has a completely separate editorial team from The Daily Mail. You can’t pitch to both at the same time – you need to pitch to them separately, although they will take each other’s stories. The website has a global reach – although its main audience is in the UK it is widely read in English speaking countries like the US, Australia and Canada. They will see a different home page with local content but much of the rest of the site will be the same.

The site publishes hundreds of stories every day and some will just stay there for a few hours. A typical story will be removed after 24 hours. There is no beginning of the day – the site is refreshed on a 24 hour basis. Peak readership is morning, lunchtime and early evening. More readers now access the site using mobile devices.

Pitching a story – think of yourself as a reader – what would you like to read? Where is the human interest angle? Do you have great pictures? Almost any subject can be interesting if approached in the right way. Of course the site is always looking for a MailOnline take on a story but there is no set rule as to what this is. On one day the site may lead with an expose looking at conditions in Brazilian jails; on another it may lead on the world’s worst wedding cakes. It’s hard to pin down what a typical MailOnline story is. They are interested in global issues. They have devoted a lot of coverage to the refugee crisis.

The best way to pitch is to email one of the subject editors mentioned at the top of this note. Focus on the human interest angle, the personal story rather than the issue. And open your pitch with ‘we have some great pictures…’ Pictures count for a lot especially if you own the copyright. They like using video too – this can be pitched direct to the video editor.

If you have an expose or investigation, think of the UK angle and how this impacts on consumers. They ran a piece on the conditions in which pigs were kept but it wasn’t considered a story until they found out who was consuming the meat. It turned out to be Morrisons. Morrisons responded by dropping the supplier – and then the site had its story.

Global stories should be pitched to the global team. They have roving reporters who could work with you and they are thinking ahead, not just responding to the day’s news stories.

If you have a great story it will be more attractive to them if you offer it exclusively – but this is not essential.

Marianna is compiling a list of features which are not time sensitive and can be run on a quiet news day – maybe at Xmas for example. So get in touch if you have something along these lines.

Foreign stories do well on the site, particularly if there are strong pictures or video.

If you are taking a celebrity abroad contact the show business team.

If you have a female angle contact the femail team.

Climate change stories in the run up to Paris should go to the science team.

All these subject teams work exclusively for MailOnline – they are completely separate from the Daily Mail.

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