Briefing Notes: The Telegraph

Katie Tiffin
Katie Tiffin 21st June 2022


Sarah Newey, Acting Deputy Editor, Global Health and Security team 

Other contacts Global Health and Security – video/social media Global Health and Security – leaving soon Global Health and Security – editor Pakistan/Afghanistan correspondent – moving to South Africa India and will cover Pakistan/Afghanistan when Ben moves Kenya based Asia correspondent based in Taipei Global Health and Security – social media, newsletter and opinion pieces. General email for the team


Sarah explained the role of the Global Health and Security team. It was set up in 2018 with funding from the Gates Foundation which has no editorial control. Four key areas of reporting were identified:

  • Women and girls
  • Science and disease
  • Terror and security
  • Climate and people

When pitching to them or thinking of stories for them, Sarah says it’s useful to think about these headings. Most stories will fit into one or more of these. She has a particular interest in neglected tropical diseases, women’s health and the impacts of climate change. 

Gates are funding the Global Health and Security section because it reaches a different audience from Guardian Development which they also fund. The Telegraph is a Conservative newspaper and most of its readers have a Conservative view of the world. Sarah says that this doesn’t really affect her team’s editorial decisions. They tend to makes sure that a story has a strong news line if it is dealing with a controversial political issue such as cuts to UK aid. 

They work closely with the Foreign Desk and have editorial control of their own content. They are not influenced by whether or not stories run in the newspaper. Some of their most popular stories were online only – such as a report by Ben on rickshaw drivers in Pakistan and one on a new school in Uganda designed by the same architect who did the Shard. 

Sarah joined the Telegraph in 2018 and the team comprises three reporters based in London (Paul, Harriet, Anne and Sarah) and four reporters based abroad (Ben, Joe, Will and Nicola). Kerry McQueeney in London manages the newsletter, social media and the opinion pieces. They can call on other Telegraph correspondents in other parts of the world and are also keen to use freelancers to broaden the range of perspectives. They do not do much coverage of Latin America, although during Covid they did report extensively from Brazil, Peru and Ecuador.


Ideas can be pitched to Sarah, Anne, Paul or Harriet or to all four. They discuss all the ideas they receive and try to reply to all emails. If Sarah doesn’t reply to your email send her a reminder a couple of days later. Pitches should be brief and say clearly what the crux of the story is, the top line and why the story is important, new or topical. Most of their stories have a news angle but occasionally they will do a feature with no news peg. A UK connection helps but is not essential. They commission a wide range of content some of which is off the news agenda and some of which gives a health/security angle to a running story such as Ukraine or Covid. 


Global Health and Security has several different audiences who come to its content in different way – via the newspaper, website, social media and the newsletter. Most of its stories make it into the newspaper although space has been tight during the Ukraine war, as there are only three pages of foreign news (50-65% at the moment but was 80% before the Ukraine war). The main Telegraph website is accessible to subscribers only but the Global Health and Security content is free to access so it has a slightly different, more international audience. On the Global Health and Security site, its audience is 70% in the UK, 20% in the US and 10% elsewhere. Sarah will try and find out more about this audience. The newsletter goes out twice a week to 60,000 subscribers. And many people come to its content via search – 50% of the online audience comes in this way. Ben’s rickshaw piece had 35,000 page views and the Uganda hospital story had 29,000. They want to do more video content which can run on YouTube, be embedded into an article or run as short clips on social media.


Sarah and her London-based colleagues will do foreign trips when appropriate. Sarah is just back from Somaliland. 

Opinion pieces

They don’t run many but Sarah is open to pitches. Try to avoid jargon, keep the piece to a maximum of 800 words and remember that you are speaking to a general not a specialist audience.

Picture galleries

They have stopped doing these for the moment as they effort was not worth it as they did not do well.


MG, 21.6.22

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