My Media Week: Jo Blake

Jo Blake: head of print and radio investment at Arena Media
Jo Blake: head of print and radio investment at Arena Media

This week, Jo Blake, head of print and radio investment at Arena Media, talks app opportunities and her love of Piers Morgan, while kick-starting her health regime.


Up at 5.30am and off to the gym – the diet and exercise regime started on 2 January. My previous regime involved eating a whole Chocolate Orange on my way home. Last week, Christina Irvine from the Standard informed me that this was not normal behaviour.

In work at 8.30am with a red face, raring to go. I catch up with my team about up-and-coming briefs for the week, then there's an investment team meeting with head of investment, Daren Benton.

Next, a meeting with Simon Kilby, commercial director at Absolute, to discuss the fabulous medium of radio and how we can use Instream – their targeted audio product – for a couple of our clients. He tells me he is doing a stage of the Tour de France. I'm impressed, but secretly think he's having a mid-life crisis.

Lunch is Weight Watchers beans on Weight Watchers bread, at my desk. Zzz.

We've had a late brief for a skincare client pitch tomorrow. Whilst all very exciting, we need to consolidate our thinking. A group of us brainstorm, led by creative director, Justin Gibbons. An hour later we have got some great ideas and agreed strategy.

I read the Standard on the train home and check Twitter on my phone. Lovely husband has cooked up some vegetables as part of my diet (mmm). I bought him 'The Big Bang Theory' box set for Christmas and now we are obsessed. I watch that for a couple of hours and find myself online buying Sheldon Cooper T-shirts.


I leave my house with my copy of The Times; handy as I have a breakfast meeting at the Delauney with Karin Seymour, News International sales director. I like breakfast – a small treat between Charing Cross and my office. We talk about The Sun's new iPad offering and opportunities, plus the NI Christmas party gossip – sorry, I'd have to kill you if I told.

After that, it's an ABC meeting of the Consumer Magazines Reporting Group who are doing a great job finding a way through the digital and print reporting minefield. Then back to the office to catch up on emails.

Part of the afternoon I actually spend at my desk writing a client presentation. I then meet up with Adam Gilsenan, trading director at the Mail and the MOS for an update on the progress of Mail+, their new newspaper app out soon.

I read Empire on the way home – my desert island mag of choice – getting in at around 7.30pm. My youngest son, 16-year-old Harry – the one with giant thumbs due to excess XBox Live playing – is unusually chatty (weird). I realise it's because he wants money for the weekend. I play it cool, and sneakily trade chores and homework for Saturday night cash.


I weigh myself, and, sorry if I sound a bit Bridget Jones, but I've lost 2lbs. Awesome. I leave the house with a skip in my step and read my Kindle on the train – Danny Baker's autobiography – very funny.

I meet up with Justin Gibbons to discuss our behavioural economics tool, Architect, and our thoughts on the best way to share with media owners and get the best out of our partnerships.

Then it's straight into a meeting with Jeremy Lawrence and Emma Hare at Axiom Media along with Daren Benton. They are launching a customised entertainment platform, a hybrid of TV and social. It feels new and different and something that we can really get involved with.

Rather excitingly, I go to the Shard viewing platform at lunchtime, I have been invited by Saint (St John Betteridge) and Michelle Daburn at Time Out. You can see up to 40 miles away, and despite today being typically cloudy it's still a great experience.

Later, Vanessa Clifford, client services and strategy director at News Works, comes over for a chat. We talk about how their tablet event went, their new-look website and cross-media research. We then head out to meet Jane Wolfson and head to dinner in Soho.


I get up early and go to the gym, finish my e-book on the train, then go to a breakfast meeting with Global Radio's Stuart Mays and Ollie Deane at the Dean Street Townhouse, to discuss what 2013 has in store. We talk about the fact they have just broken through the 12 million app downloads point and how we can get our clients involved with their new partnership solutions.

Back to work to check on emails and actually sit at my desk working.

Andrew Cockburn (AD at Arena Media) and I have a client meeting this afternoon (no point in talking about lunch, it was low calorie and involved vegetables) with our lovely client Jenny Spiers from Homesense. We are doing a partnership with IPC and are meeting the editor of Style at Home, Jennifer Morgan, and Sue Valentine, creative solutions manager. We discuss the detail and how we can amplify it. Jennifer's a great editor – switched on and open to new ideas.

At the end of the day, Henry Daglish, our deputy MD, pops over to discuss a new partnerships offering. We head out to the Telegraph's 2013 predictions evening at The Berkeley hotel, where I undo all my good work with lovely, but calorie-laden wine.

I get home at around 11.30pm to find my family still up and, according to my husband, Harry has put the bins out, emptied the dishwasher, cleaned his room and has been revising. I feel slightly smug that my cunning bribery has worked and give him a tenner for the weekend.


No gym today – hurrah. I get the train and read The Guardian on the iPad and I also take a peek at Lonely Planet Traveller mag, which I love.

Most of the morning is spent speaking to clients, my team and planning campaigns. Grant Woodthorpe, head of trading at Metro, pops in for a catch-up. We used to work together at Zenith and he is on his usual great form. We talk about mobile and their new hub way of working, as well as swapping stories about teenage sons.

Later that day, I meet up with Kristiaan Kroon, head of trading at the Mirror. We talk about the impact of their proposed restructure, rumours around the People, our love of Piers Morgan and his new US-style tan. For some reason, it fires up the old cravings. I swing by the newsagent and buy a Chocolate Orange.

Personal CV

Favourite media…Not much I don't like, but magazines by a nose
Biggest inspiration…My dad, he is the person that I most want to be like
Dream job…I have two: a travel writer or a film critic
One thing not a lot of people know...I used to perform singing telegrams (aged 17 and about a stone lighter)

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