Welcome to my blog. I may write copy here that I would not present elsewhere. This blog allows me to comment while reporting for clients which can include subscription-only platforms. I use it to take a sideways look at running stories, and all views presented here are my own.

Interested parties are invited to comment.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Monday, 15 December 2008

The Canada UK Chamber of Commerce yields some Big Fish

In 2007 and at the beginning of 2008 I was working closely with Canadians, so I joined the Canada UK Chamber of Commerce after talking to its Executive Director Nigel Bacon who has to be one of London's best and friendliest aide to networkers.

Being a Chamber member gave me access to some interesting events and people. It also opened my eyes to the whole world of bilateral chambers of commerce which exists in London, and which lays claim to an exclusive guest list of speakers. One of my friends from BBC World Service HQ at Bush House told me once he does something which I do too, but instinctively; attending special events/conferences/lunches and dinners, he said, brings a critical mass of experts in any one subject in one room, almost on a plate, to an interested journalist. I wouldn't say that the experts are all on a plate, because there is work to be done in establishing relationships with the individuals concerned to the extent that they will trust enough to talk, but the theory is a useful one.

While I listen to the Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee member Professor Tim Besley at Armourers' Hall over lunch ( a stunning array of shields and helmets seem to be contemplating us silently from on high) or Alberta Energy Minister the Honourable Mel Knight at Quebec House, Pall Mall, I am quietly planning which big cheese to choose for an interview for 2008. I want just one from this arena.
I see part of our profession as fishing; I cast bait into the ocean, and wait paitiently to see which of the prey, bites. Then I start reeling the target in, handling them carefully, answering their questions, putting them at ease, so that I have the interview lined up, before I start close preparation and going in for the final kill, so to speak. The goal of the interview is to ask all the questions I want, preferably some which have not been asked before, and elicit interesting answers. Then I want to keep the interview going until it comes to a natural conclusion, not to have it close down prematurely. Finally, I want to bring the material back safely to my office, log carefully and edit, then write/broadcast the material for publication. The Canadian Chamber hosted lunches with Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney as well as Prime Minister Stephen Harper. One I particularly enjoyed was with Daniel Chornous, Chief Investment Officer, Royal Bank of Canada Asset Managment Inc, Investment Policy Committee who has a really interesting take on the economy.
But the interviewee I chose is someone who has only spoken with one other writer at length since he arrived in London from Toronto in 2007; Michael Lagopoulos, CEO and Head of International Wealth Management, Royal Bank of Canada. He agreed to my request, and negotiations began with his Director of Communications and another member of his team. I hope to preview that meeting here on this blog at some point.


No comments: