Lily Russell-Jones, Senior Money Reporter, The Times and The Sunday Times

In today's Money Talks, we speak to Headlinemoney Awards 2023 winner Lily Russell-Jones, who emphasises the importance of having humans at the heart of any story, reveals which piece of financial services research would catch her eye and discusses her love of bouldering.
Lily Russell-Jones, Senior Money Reporter, The Times and The Sunday Times

What are the main beats that you cover?

I write across personal finance topics, but my main focus is crypto, pensions, tax and renting.

Congratulations on your success at the 2023 Headlinemoney Awards! How did you feel when you found out that you’d won?        

I was so excited! It was a lovely surprise - I was in a remote part of Italy with intermittent Wi-Fi when it was announced and a message came through on the work group chat telling me I had won.

Why are peer-judged awards such as the Headlinemoney Awards important to journalists?

It's fantastic to have your work recognised. It felt like a big achievement to be nominated alongside such talented writers.

What have been the highlights of your time working in financial journalism? Have there been any pieces of work you’re particularly proud of?

Helping consumers is always a highlight. This year I helped a customer with terminal cancer get £16,000 of compensation after a firm lost his £100,000 pension pot. I have also been writing about steelworkers and their ongoing fight for compensation after they were given poor pension advice.

How can PRs help you with your work?  

Send me exclusive data, case studies and ideas about how to cover a topic in a new way.

When are the best times for PRs/press offices to contact you?

The money section is published at the weekend so press releases embargoed for Saturday or Sunday sent early in the week always get my attention. That said, if you have a good exclusive story idea then get in touch anytime!

What is the financial interview you’d most like to arrange?

It's been about a year since the mini-budget announcement and I have some questions for Kwasi Kwarteng and Liz Truss.

What is the piece of financial services research you’d most like to read?

I’d be interested in research about the ways investors and financial services companies are using Artificial Intelligence. I’d also like to see strong data on what people are doing with their 25% tax free lump sum when they withdraw it from their pension.

When you’re telling a story, what’s the most important thing to remember?

Make it feel relevant to the reader. People like stories with humans at the heart of them so finding case studies is often key.

What was the last article you read that really shocked you?

When I read about Roe v. Wade being overturned and abortion no longer being a constitutional right in America. People often think about progress towards equality being linear and moving in one direction, but this felt like a massive step backwards in one of the world’s largest democracies.

What is the one piece of advice you’d give to someone starting out in financial journalism?

Don’t be afraid of asking questions which seem basic as they are often the most important. Also try not to overuse financial jargon - if you really understand something you should be able to explain it simply.

Sum up your time as a financial journalist in three words:

A learning curve.

If you were up for an award for any hobbies/activities outside of work, what would you be likely to win, and why?  

I have lots of houseplants, I love bouldering, cooking and I go to salsa classes. I’m unlikely to win any awards at  the moment but I’d get an A for effort…

Finally, if you had to eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?  

Probably dan dan noodles with tofu.

Please sign in

If you are a registered user on Headlinemoney, please sign in