Focus Interview with freelance journalist Judy Hobson

Judy Hobson is a freelance journalist specialising in health, education, sex and relationships. Her work has appeared in Choice, Yours, Woman’s Weekly and Health matters.

Here, Hobson tells us about her most memorable work, and how she’s already written the feature she’d most like to.

About your journalism:

What do you write about?
I write about health, education, sex and relationships and do in-depth personality profiles.

Where are we likely to see your work?
My work appears regularly in Choice, Yours, Woman’s Weekly and Health Matters as well as in the health sections of the nationals. I have just been short-listed in the Medical Journalism Awards 2008 consumer news section for a piece I wrote this summer for Yours magazine on a new sight-saving operation.

What’s the most memorable work you’ve done?
Perhaps the most worthwhile story I have ever written was for the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong. I described the abysmal living conditions endured by a group of very old Chinese men living in caged bedspaces in a stinking, crumbling tenement in Kowloon. As a result of my articles the men were re-housed in prefabs in the New Territories, something that gave me great satisfaction. More recently I was delighted when Times 2 ran a two-page spread I had written on sickle cell disease, a devastating condition that rarely gets media coverage.

What interview or feature would you love the chance to do?
I have already done it. It is the chance to see it in print that I am waiting for. The article is on vaginal atrophy, a condition that causes so many women pain and discomfort and not surprisingly puts them off sex. While there are articles about ED (erectile dysfunction) and Viagra etc, editors seems scared of lifting the lid on VA, a distressing condition that affects up to 80 per cent of post menopausal women.

About you and PRs:

Where do you source ideas for articles?
My ideas come from talking to other women about their health and relationship problems; keeping in touch with my medical contacts doing cutting-edge research; and chatting with those PRs who understand the kind of stories I am looking for – new, fresh, insightful and with bags of human interest.

About you:

How would you pay the bills if you weren’t a journalist?
If I wasn’t a journalist, I would love to be writing scripts for Coronation Street or indulging my love of history and being a London tourist guide taking around rich Americans.

If we gave you £1000, how would you spend it?
I would use it to escape winter’s grey skies and head somewhere sunny where I could have an aromatherapy massage gazing out over the ocean.

What books are on your bedside table, magazines in your bag, or blogs
on your screen?

I’ve just finished Robert Harris’s The Ghost. I enjoyed it so much that I am now reading his Pompeii. I am also dipping into an old history of Lincolnshire, my home county, that my daughter found in a secondhand bookshop. In addition to the magazines I write for, I enjoy Good Housekeeping, Red and Psychologies.
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