The Reading List – February 2020

It was a cold, rainy and dark month – and maybe you were happy to see the back of it – but it still provided a wealth of new stories to get lost in. These are a few of our favourites, from human interest to journalism and tech startups. Enjoy!

What I learned about PR pitching from the reporters I keep spamming (Rodney Goedhart, TNW)
Rodney asked journalists what they really think of PRs and the services they provide. Perhaps surprisingly, they answered! The findings suggest that there’s no shortcut to success, that PRs need to do their homework before pitching, and that it pays to build relationships. 

Fighting the tyranny of ‘niceness’: why we need difficult women (Helen Lewis, The Guardian)
The title of this piece doesn’t really do justice to what it’s about, which is the counterproductiveness of different waves or factions of feminism fighting against one another, as opposed to uniting. It’s a response to the woke generation and cancel culture which so quickly writes people off, denying the fact that even influential, talented people are flawed, complex and multifaceted.  

‘I hated my homophobic stepdad, then he came out as trans’ (Natasha Lipman, BBC News)
As a gay teenager in post-Soviet Russia, Wes Hurley found comfort in American movies. He eventually moved to the US after his mum married an American man who she met via a dating service matching American men with Russian women. This extraordinary true story, full of charismatic characters, has plenty of twists and turns.    

‘We call it breaking views’ – how LinkedIn’s growing editorial team shapes its news feed (Ian Burrell, The Drum)
A breakdown of LinkedIn’s media offering that’s interesting within the context of the wider move towards news and information being distributed by privately owned companies with a product or service to sell. In many ways, LinkedIn is behaving just like a traditional media organisation, with its office on Fleet Street, yet the stories it covers create opportunities for its professionally-oriented social media platform.

Europe’s Series A Funding Landscape: A Snapshot (Atomico – a European VC firm)
Netbase Quid combined Atomico data and industry analysis to illustrate the European Series A startup landscape. Among European-headquartered companies founded since 2014, there are 709 companies that have received funding amounts between $7mn and $15mn. The majority are developing Big Data and AI/Machine Learning technology (10%), followed by Energy and Renewables (9.2%), Medical and Healthcare (7.6%), and Blockchain and Fintech (7.3%). 

Want more? Why not take a look at our January list