Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

Introducing the first guest blog from Louise Kehoe--a true Silicon Valley Watcher

Posted by Candida Kutz - January 18, 2005

by Tom Foremski for SiliconValleyWatcher.com

Many people know full well that Louise Kehoe, my former boss at the
Financial Times, is the true Silicon Valley Watcher. Which is why it is a huge pleasure to introduce this first guestblog from Louise, a friend and mentor for many years.

Louise is well known in the valley from her more than two decades of world class reporting for the Financial Times. When she first started, gaining access to top execs and captains of industry was difficult because the newspaper was not only an unfamiliar color but unfamiliar altogether. In those days, the Financial Times had a circulation of less than 100,000. It was because of the continued excellence of her reporting that the almost unknown Financial Times brand was raised to that of a top-tier publication in the minds of Silicon Valley's gatekeepers.

Louise recruited me to the Financial Times in 1999 and we worked together in an apartment-turned-office just off highway 101 and Hillsdale. A large highway exit sign close to the office said "Kehoe Way." I would often joke that Louise has been in the valley so long, they built it around her.

We were in the midst of the heady dotcom days and we were pumping out
enormous amounts of news copy. We were draining cups of tea and creating huge clouds of nicotine laden smoke.

And when a really big story would break, maybe ten minutes before our very latest afternoon deadline, that's when the adrenaline kicked up a notch or three and we'd work together, (Andrew Heavens was working with us too) and we'd get a stock price, get a quote from a contact, check the whisper numbers, get whatever was needed to write that news story. Louise would usually take the lead and pound out the story, just seconds to go. And then London calls and wants another 60 words! And copy editors are calling and saying it has to be sent now, now! and Louise gets it done and squared away. No problem, we go and have a cup of tea.

This type of right-on-the-wire-deadline-news-journalism is a rush and
something that I enjoyed. It leaves little margin for error--you have to be spot-on with your angle, research and knowledge. But there is no choice in the matter because London deadlines ruled our world. While our US competitors had all day to file the news of the day, we did not. Our first big deadline was 10am Pacific for the UK edition. Leisurely awakenings at the office over a muffin, coffee and e-mail were non-existent. Waking up was always quick.

Our next big deadline was 3.30pm Pacific, to catch the US edition and most probably file a story for the 3pm European edition, and also an earlier version to catch the very last UK edition at 2.30pm.

During earnings season, news stories are written in real-time while
listening to financial conference calls. It is not uncommon to have to quickly analyze quarterly numbers and knock out a preliminary 150 words story for the FT.com web site by 1.30pm, then jump into the earnings conference call and update the story for later editions.

Then in between there is filing of news to the FT.com web site at any time of the day, there are analysis pieces on the news to be written, meetings with tech execs, etc.

I would head home about 8pm, Louise usually still working. Then 7am the next day we could come in and do it again. Then the dotbomb landed, but more on that at a later
time...
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