“What I have learnt [since working at the FT] is that finance and economics makes the world go round,” says Hancock. “Whether you are a consumer journalist, a lifestyle journalist, or looking at politics or geopolitical trends, even a basic grasp of the subject is important.” Or, to put it another way, there are money stories everywhere.
Hancock now uses her own experiences of lifestyle writing to produce compelling, information-filled stories for a wide selection of Financial Times readers — a combination which can make the stories even stronger.
One such story that had also received a lot of attention looked at the scramble for pubs to secure scotch eggs in 2020. Demand for the snack boomed after cabinet minister Michael Gove suggested they could count as a substantial meal under lockdown rules, meaning punters could also order alcoholic drinks.
“I spent a day calling around all the scotch egg suppliers I could find, and so many pubs [off the back of those comments],” laughs Hancock. “I find that usually small businesses and retailers are especially willing to be a part of a story and will share their knowledge with you.”
“They told me there had been a sales uptick. From there I spoke to other producers, who shared their stories with me. The resulting story was picked up by the BBC and The Week — and it is a good example of a fun leisure and financial story — showing how a politician’s words can filter through to the market.”
Look At The Money Behind Trends Or Stories
Akila Quinio, who is currently on a two-year graduate trainee programme, agrees that many of her success stories come from the research around an unexpected topic or interest. One of her big break stories came from listening to friends, who were trainees in large law firms, talking about a new trend of YouTube influencers who dedicate their channels on how to get into Magic Circle law firms.
“I thought this was an interesting trend to investigate,” Quinio tells us. “These influencers were highlighting what they do each day within these law firms, filming videos, and essentially marketing those firms without a formal relationship.”
Similar to Hancock, Quinio believes she was able to pursue the piece by drawing on her other interests. “I knew this is where my knowledge of social media, and outlook as a young person, could be useful,” she explains, adding that it could work across various audiences from young people to partners “who could now understand what was happening among their younger recruit communities.”