Friday Focus podcast

Friday Focus is our new podcast series to help anyone working in school communications. Join Attain's Editor, Matthew Smith, as he explores the world of independent school communications.

Each week, during term time, Matthew will highlight the little changes which can make a big difference and help you to improve the quality of your media coverage.

Do share your feedback with us – if you find the Friday Focus podcast helpful or if there are any particular topics you would like discussed. You can email Matthew via

Podcast Episodes


Episode 9: Helping journalists

In this final episode, Matt explores why the key to getting good press coverage is to give journalists what they need – and explains all the things to avoid when writing a story and sending a press release.


Episode 8: What is – and isn't – news

In this penultimate episode, Matt looks at what is – and what isn't – news. Looking back at the hundreds of news stories sent to Attain over the past year, there are a significant proportion of stories which are not, really, news.


Episode 7: Writing a good headline

In this seventh episode, Matt looks at the fourth and final key ingredient of news – the headline. Headline writing is something of an art form but it doesn’t mean you cannot write a good one. Too often it’s left to last and then feels a bit rushed.


Episode 6: What's a standfirst?

In this sixth episode, Matt looks at the third key ingredient of news – the standfirst. Often overlooked, neglected and ignored, the standfirst is a critically important part of ensuring that people actually read your news.


Episode 5: Photographs

In this fifth episode, Matt looks at the second key ingredient of news – photographs. A good photo draws you in to a story and makes you want to discover more. But what makes a good photograph?


Episode 4: Layering content

In this fourth episode, Matt looks at the content which goes into a news story and how layering adds depth and interest. He explains how to expand a story in order to make it more engaging and relevant.


Episode 3: In the beginning

In this third episode, Matt looks at how you should start your story. It's very important to start the story in a way which enables it to develop, whilst ensuring you cover all the key elements – Who? What? Where? When? and Why?


Episode 2: Getting the content right

In this second episode, Matt looks at the content which goes into news stories. Good news stories consist of a combination of four key ingredients – the balance of which, he argues, is critical.


Episode 1: What do we mean by 'news'?

In this first episode, Matt explores the meaning of 'news-worthy'. He laments that too often the quality of news from schools is not what it should be – which is all the more frustrating, as schools should be a wonderful source of news.