Adam James is currently the managing editor for Psychminded.co.uk, Director at SPRINGup PR and photojournalist at Ajamesphotos. Since the 1990s he has written for titles such as the Guardian, Independent, Mail, Sunday Telegraph and New Statesman, and was named the Journalist of the Year 2001.
Cision: Do you feel having experience in both Journalism and PR has helped you in your current roles as editor, freelancer and PR professional?
Adam: Sound journalism experience and an understanding of how the media industry works has real value in PR – in particular to know what is and what is not a story, and how journalists and editors operate.
Cision: What are the hot topics and trends in Health PR and the Health industry today?
Adam: Planned NHS reforms, standards of patient care, the debate around the role of independent healthcare providers. Plus, cancer cure and treatment, and the scandal of easily-treatable malaria killing children at a rate of one every 45 seconds.
Cision: How do you stay on top of all the changes in Health and emerging stories?
Adam:Twitter is handy. Plus press releases, contacts and reading the news.
Cision: What are the key topics in Mental Health today and how are they being communicated?
Adam: The debate around standards of care is ongoing. The anti-stigma campaign receives a lot of media interest at present. My interest is more on models of treatment and care in mental health, and the lives and rights of people detained under the Mental Health Act.
Cision: Is there a relationship between ‘Health PR’ and ‘Pharma PR’ or do they sit separately?
Adam: Pharma PR is about helping pharmaceutical firms sell and market their drugs and raise their profile. In mental health around 90% of drug research in journals is funded by pharmaceutical companies.
A provider of healthcare services will often be targeting different media than pharmaceutical firms. National press and trade specialist press are key communication channels. If you want it to be read by mental health professionals, Mental HealthToday or www.psychminded.co.uk, are a good place to start. As is Health Service Journal, Nursing Times and Guardian Society.
Cision: Why did you choose to specialise in Mental Health?
Adam: Mental health cuts across politics, psychology, philosophy and science.
Cision: What were your main drivers when setting up your website www.psychminded.co.uk (a portal for people working in psychology, psychiatry and mental Health)? Have these been achieved and what were the key learnings?
Adam: I aimed to produce a sustainable web portal specialising in mental health, psychology and psychiatry, but focusing on innovative developments and having keen interest in the service user movement. We attract a specialist and niche audience and revenue comes from recruitment listings and advertising. www.psychminded.co.uk has now operated for 10 years. So definitely sustainable.
Cision: In your opinion who are the most influential Health&Pharma commentators and why?
Adam: I like Clare Allan from the Guardian. She’s engaging and crafty, in the creative sense.
Cision: What advice do you have for PR professionals when contacting Health&Pharma journalists?
Adam: As always, only bother if you have a story. Plus, approach the right journalist, and make sure you know the story ‘angle’ the publication would be interested in. Mind you, even if the press release isn’t well-written a good journalist will be able to identify the story, if there is one, within a bad press release.
Cision: Are patients and the general public more empowered through Social Media? Are Social Media good for Health communication?
Adam:Social media is another useful tool. Look how it has fed our understanding of events in the “Arab Spring’. But I would say the arrival of the internet generally was a bigger landmark. Through research on the web one can find out as much as a doctor on a particular medical or health problem. Yes, social media is good for health communication, but I’d still say the traditional national and specialist media is still number one target for PR people. Get coverage there, and you’ll get lots of social media as spin-off.