Yesterday morning Champion met with Jemima Kiss, Head of Technology at The Guardian, who discussed her role, life at the newspaper and the future of the title. We got a great insight into her daily routine, the rise of digital and the content and activity on her agenda.
The Observer (the Sunday sister paper of The Guardian) has recently announced the launch of a Tech Monthly supplement, while The Guardian has an ever increasing amount of online news, especially with the addition of online-only reporters in New York and Australia. This increasing digital offering is indicative of modern newspapers tending towards readers’ demand for instantaneous news.
On this, Jemima said: “It’s still important to think about the paper, which I really enjoy as you have a bit longer to write the story and nowadays it’s a luxury – compared to the web where you have half an hour turnaround. There’s a real battle between getting the important stories and providing a high editorial quality.”
Jemima also revealed some interesting stats about the rise of digital access to The Guardian. Figures from ComScore reveal the site now receives 40 million unique users per month, of which between 30 and 50 per cent is via mobile devices. As much as 35% of that traffic comes from international visitors reading the site in a foreign language to their mother tongue. But major events can and do cause huge spikes – this week’s iPhone launch saw 1.5m views of the tech page in one day.
Interestingly, Jemima told us that two-thirds of The Guardian’s tech online readership is male – a discourse she was keen to rectify. And, while a lot of the editorial team’s time involves working with the world’s biggest technology brands, she’s also excited by new challenger brands and their PR teams.
“I’m not interested in everything Facebook does or when Mark Zuckerberg sneezes. I’m curious of people doing new and exciting stuff, it's a creative subject so I'm dismayed when tech is reduced to being geeky.
I believe it’s important to support UK companies in particular, and I’m constantly thinking of new ways to introduce them. PR is a massively important part of my job and I couldn't do my job without them. So my message there is don't be put off by grumpiness, we’re grateful of the support.”
Jemima is a well-known prolific user of social media, particularly Twitter, and she was keen to give us her thoughts on the medium’s benefits for her profession. “Twitter gave journalists a voice beyond the work that they do, and showed that we’re actually human beings,” she said. “Engaging in public discourse is what Twitter is all about, and I get frustrated about reporting of things that people say on Twitter. That’s not a story.”
“We’re in the teenage years of using the Internet and we need to learn to filter the overwhelming amount of stuff to inform our judgement. I’d love something that monitors everything from our daily lives and selects the good stuff to Tweet about.”