10 questions with... Mark Hollinshead, CEO of Hollicom

The Drum speaks to people across the global media and marketing sector who are bringing something a little different to the industry and talks to them about what little insights they can offer the rest of us. This week's 10 Questions With... features chief executive of PR agency Hollicom and former COO of Trinity Mirror, Mark Hollinshead.

Mark Hollinshead

What was your first ever job?

After graduating in the early eighties I became a trainee account executive at David Cox Advertising in Norwich.

Ten years before that, aged 11, I got my first real job as a paper boy delivering the Express & Star in Wednesbury in the West Midlands. In 1983 my first job in media was with…The Express & Star in Wolverhampton.

Why did you get into media?

Being very inquisitive I was naturally attracted to the dynamism and creativity of the media. In the early days in newspapers there was the romanticism of the sound of the building shaking as the presses started to roll and the ink on your hands as the first papers appeared in the office. Today that dynamism takes a different form as news is immediate and all consuming

What’s the most surprising thing you have learned about media since working within it?

Over the years I suppose the most surprising thing I have learnt is the number of stories that have never made it into the news. In every newsroom across the land there are desk draws and experienced minds full of stories that people and organisations don’t want, and can’t be, published for one reason or another. One day the law will change and there will truly be freedom of the press. There’s some mind blowing stories out there that are still yet to be published.

What story do you remember best that you may have had involvement in when thinking back over your career and why?

Working with some of the best editors in the business there have been scores of stories which, as Publisher, I have had to be involved with for legal and other “strategic” reasons. One of the strangest was on 25 June 2009 when the then editor of the Daily Record, Bruce Waddell, entered my office and asked me to read Frankie Boyle’s forthcoming column on the death of Michael Jackson who had died the day before. We didn’t publish the column.

What have you learned from any mistakes you’ve made in your career?

It’s an old cliche but if you don’t make any mistakes you don’t learn anything. I’ve made loads of mistakes but learnt a lot from some brilliant people.

Who is your favourite person to work with in media or marketing and why?

I like working with young talented people who have no knowledge or experience of the history of mainstream media. They rarely read newspapers. They now think Facebook is for their parents and they have no idea of what’s on at 9pm tonight on ITV.

What is the most exciting thing about your job?

I love change and you couldn’t be in a faster changing industry than the media. I now own and run a PR company and our mantra is “If you don’t tell your story someone else will” which means I’m still sort of in the news business.

If you were hosting an industry panel who would be your ideal line up?

Jeff Bezos, Rupert Murdoch, Donald Trump, Sundar Pichai, Ian Hislop.

Best book you have ever read ?

Great Expectations

What’s the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

Look forward not back.

10 Questions With... will return next week.

Get The Drum Newsletter

Build your marketing knowledge by choosing from daily news bulletins or a weekly special.