My Media Week: Jerry Wright

This week, Jerry Wright, chief executive of measurement body the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC), juggles his diary, his coffee loyalty card and his dodgy knee.

Jerry Wright: chief executive of the Audit Bureau of Circulations
Jerry Wright: chief executive of the Audit Bureau of Circulations


I’m an early bird, waking before the business news on Radio 4’s 'Today' programme, then catching the train from Barnes to Berkhamsted, known locally as the ‘Westfields Express’.

After checking the daily ABC membership update, my PA Paula and I juggle my diary for the week ahead – three Reporting Standards Group (RSG) meetings and the Ad:tech show just for starters.

A batch of internal meetings begin the day, first with Jan Pitt, our director of client services, where we identify the most promising new business sector opportunities for our website audits.

Next is Simon Redlich, director of finance and audit, to get an update on a much-needed major IT project that will overhaul our entire data collection and reporting system. And like all IT projects since the dawn of time, costs and deadlines are always a challenge. We also look over our member-satisfaction scores on audit service delivery, which are pleasingly at an all-time high.

After my final session of the morning (reviewing our employee satisfaction survey with HR manager Kerry Fogden), I buy and then lose a sandwich while dashing for the train into London for my first RSG meeting of the week at the Newspaper Publishers Association (NPA).

A constructive meeting with Lynne Robinson (of the IPA) and Claudine Collins (of MediaCom) from the agency side, and Trevor Jones (of News International) and Barry Allsop (of Associated Newspapers) from the publishers, amongst others. Marcus Rich of The Mail on Sunday chairs skilfully as we try to define a new course for the years ahead.

After the meeting, I repair to Caffe Nero for a much-needed caffeine fix (and the first of many loyalty card stamps) to catch up on emails. I’m a churchwarden at the PCC, where I head for my next meeting and am appointed data protection officer for my sins!


Head straight into London, via Caffe Nero, for the Consumer Magazines RSG meeting at IPC. A lively and positive debate ensues around how digital edition rules should develop with Simon Young  (Bauer Publishing), Vivien Matthews (Condé Nast), Alan Brydon (MPG), Neil Allen (Starcom MediaVest), Matt Salmon (Natmags) and Adrian Hughes (IPC Media).

As technology is changing so fast, so must our industry auditing rules, and we agree to recommend immediate change.

A quick bite on Kingsway, then off to see the PPA’s Barry McIlheney to discuss next month’s ABC Board and to compare notes on the FIPP World Magazine Congress that we’re both attending in Delhi next month.

Nip over Kingsway to meet Mike Ironside of NRS (National Readership Survey). Mike and I have put a lot of effort into improving co-operation between ABC and NRS, and catch up regularly on developments within both organisations.

Good news from an email check in Caffe Nero – is going to move to monthly reporting of its ABC online figures. I also see that ABC figures have featured heavily in a controversial rate-hiking letter to agencies from The Mirror ad sales team.

Finish the day with my wife Clare at choir practice in Sheen, followed by a restorative trip to The Plough – regular warbler, the Advertising Association’s Sue Eustace, is absent for once, as she is away in the US.


Another early start today with an email and coffee pit-stop before attending the Regional Newspapers RSG, where Chris Pennock of Johnston Press leads an excellent discussion on print rule simplification and cost reductions. We also have some well-developed plans for making website audits quicker and cheaper, which go down extremely well with the group.

I grab a quick sandwich, in Starbucks for a change, and then head off to Ad:tech where ABC is exhibiting. I check in with the sales team and then head over to the comScore stand.

After tea with Richard Foan, our director of communication and innovation, to agree the next steps on our main innovation projects that take the ABC stamp of trust into digital ad trading compliance, I make for the Ipsos Media party at the St Stephen’s Club.

All the luminaries of the media research world are there and it’s excellent to share a beer with my old sparring partner Jerry Hill (Rajar) and Keith Donaldson (Jicreg) amongst others.


A welcome change of pace as I join one of our audit teams, as I do every three months or so, to experience first-hand what’s going on at the "coal-face". Today, I’m at Dennis Publishing with one of our lead auditors, Paul Flanagan. I also manage to engage Martin Belson, Dennis’s commercial and retail director, to share his thinking on the future of digital editions.

Finally – a quiet night at home, where supper discussions revolve around plans for the weekends, which include watching the England rugby game and attending our first civil partnership ceremony.


An 8am appointment at the physio to put my dodgy knee through its paces. Good news – I’ll be able to start playing rugby again in a couple of weeks.

Then by car to the office where Paula and I check everything is set up for my IFABC (International Federation of Audit Bureaux Circulation) Board teleconference on Monday morning, and that my Delhi visa is in order.

Tea and a doughnut before meetings with Martyn Gates, director of standards and operations, to talk about his board paper on longer-term rules development, and then Simon for a review of Augusts’ financial results, which are thankfully ahead of plan.

Final chat with our HR manager about admin arrangements for the Christmas break, before leaving the office early in a failed attempt to miss the Friday night M25 traffic.

After dealing with a few outstanding emails at home, I log off for the week and walk over to a Putney restaurant with my wife and some old university friends.

Caffe Nero stamps collected across the week = 10, so a free coffee on Saturday morning!

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