A couple of years ago I was offered an interview for a family law piece on the main early evening BBC news concerning a notable change to family law: the access and right of grandparents to see grandchildren.
This was a little bit of a coup as there are thousands of family law practitioners and the one being represented was in Manchester, not London where the news studio was, and there was the little plus point of being seen by millions of viewers and improved reputation in a highly competitive area of law.
Huw Edwards insisted that the interview be conducted in the main studio and not by video link-up, something he could stipulate as there are plenty of expert interviewees available within walking distance.
Fast forward a year later and the riots are being discussed by politicians, police, lawyers and those facing the law – a large set-piece event and one designed to encourage a national debate.
A Manchester based criminal lawyer I am representing is offered an opportunity (with his client) to take part at Media City’s Salford studios for BBC Radio. Yet, the riots took place in a number of UK cities, and are most notoriously associated with Tottenham, but are being discussed in the North West.
Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago: the Syrian conflict was being discussed on Radio 4 by two Manchester Metropolitan University academics and a recent refugee.
The notable thing was that all three are based in Manchester and Salford, something that would have been more than a little surprising a couple of years ago.
It’s not earth shattering news in itself, it gives Manchester PR companies and by extension their clients a raft of opportunities that were harder to source in the past.
The issue is whether the news is getting through to the North West business community and other interested parties?
I say this because a pitch for a Manchester based advertising related firm went to a London PR agency because in large part they were from the capital.
London still equals connections equals coverage and results in some quarters.
The work of organisations such as Pro Manchester and especially the accessibility and ease of communication of the Internet should have minimised such concerns. Being in Manchester did not hamper a recent campaign that gained over 150 pieces worldwide for a client.
Certainly the ability, enthusiasm, skills and experience of the supplier comes into any selection process.
If it is about being there, on the ground, in person, surely the arrival of Media City has given North West PR agencies a better hand, but how are we communicating this boon to our clients and prospects, if at all?