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Freelance Pod

Sep 2, 2019

Beth Ashton, The Telegraph's head of social media, kindly invited me over to their offices to tell me about how they do... social media. Traditionally, The Tele's newspaper readers have been amongst the oldest in the UK, which should present a challenge to converting them into online readers. They've also got a metered paywall and Premium content that stops quick and easy reads or sharing.

Nevertheless, as Beth tells us, The Tele is one of the few news websites to make Snapchat work, and to harness the power of social media to bring in newer, younger readers. Going niche is good, and allows for a different tone - compare the Telegraph's main Instagram feed to Telegraph Royals, for example. Their columnists and their podcasts also present unique content that convince readers to subscribe. 

The endless algorithm changes makes managing a social media team tough, as best practice is always changing, and messaging can get missed - Beth is refreshingly candid about these lesser-known issues on the pod.

We first met when Beth was head of audience at the Manchester Evening News, part of Reach Plc, and I was working across the regional publications, while based at the Daily Mirror. Beth and the team worked flat-out on the night of the Manchester Arena bombings, a horrifying event that ended up shining a spotlight on how well the city can come together in a time of need.

While we're talking about how the MEN covered this event, we mention former Teesside Gazette reporter Beth Lodge's great work on a memorial Facebook Live that has been watched by over 1.6 million people.

p.s. Who's the Romesh that Abdul Tahhan's talking about at the very beginning? Yep, it's the one you think. Abdul's opened for him.


How has your industry moved from analogue to digital? Each episode, creative guests tell host Suchandrika Chakrabarti how the internet has revolutionised work.