BBC’s James Gallagher visits PLBR

Breaking news: BBC’s James Gallagher

visits PLBR to give low down on making headlines


On Monday the 12th of October a lucky few from across a range of agencies and press offices within the pharmaceuticals and healthcare space braved the lonely darkness of the early morning for a special event.

As we rubbed our weary eyes and revived ourselves over a steaming hot cup of tea in the Admiral room, the atmosphere was buzzing with anticipation.

A celebrity was in our midst.

James Gallagher of the BBC had graced the Publicis offices to give us the inside scoop on life at the BBC’s online health news desk.

He was everything you might expect of a long serving BBC hand, from his inoffensive grey blazer, his neutral tone of voice and his mild mannered charm. He transported us into the life of a health journalist while he revealed the tricks, tips, dos and don’ts for getting your press release featured on the BBC webpages. As you may have guessed, I am the poor soul that must forsake my newly formed brethren and share them with you now:

  • Pitch your story before 09:30am!
  • News is only something that is:
    • a) New (…It’s in the name!)
    • b) Noteworthy – is it interesting, will it mean something to people?
  • You should be able to summarise the point of your press release in one sentence. When you email the press release to the journalist, use this sentence as the subject line
  • Quotes, case studies and sources are like crack to these guys, they add real value to press releases (yes, just like crack does to life)
  • Know who you are pitching to – avoid cringey moments and make sure you know who it is you are emailing, what they do and who they work for
  • It’s all about building relationships, if a journalist knows, and more importantly, likes you, they are much more likely to run your story

The stories on the BBC’s news pages on average, get about 1m hits and health stories average 1/4 million hits, they are as you may say, ‘big in the game’.

So, now that I have risked life and limb to share these trade secrets with you, go forth, and let my legacy live on by making the BBC’s headlines!

Michelle Johal   Account Executive


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