In this week’s freelance Focus, Benji Haworth tells us that his most memorable feature involved riding a high pass in the Lake District in the style of an eccentric early 20th century thrill-seeker and tells us about his most sought after interview subject: a 19th century German inventor.
About your journalism
What do you write about?
Bicyles. Mainly bicycles ridden on dirt.
Where are we likely to see your work?
What’s the most memorable work you’ve done?
A feature I dubbed “21st Century Pass Storming”. Riding a high pass in the Lake District in the style of eccentric/crazy early 20th century thrill-seekers. Guys who had survived the First World War and were addicted to adrenalin. They lugged bicycles up, over and down some extremely silly terrain. We returned to their old stomping grounds and paid our respect – with a contemporary twist. You can read the feature online here – http://benjihaworthpics.wordpress.com/2010/01/14/21st-century-pass-storming/
What interview or feature would you love the chance to do?
An interview with Baron Karl van Drais. He’s a German chap from the early 19th century who invented the hobby horse. Bicycles are all his fault.
About you and PRs
Where do you source ideas for articles?
Mostly they spring out of my brain while I’m out riding my bike. Sometimes a random email from someone promoting a product or an event can lead to unexpected things too.
How can PRs be useful to you?
As stated, they are very useful for keeping informed about news, new products and events. At the very least it’s good to know the information even if I don’t go on to produce anything about it. Every now and then you can end up traveling half way around the world and experiencing some incredible things as the result of responding to a random email.
How and when do you like them to get in touch?
Email. As frequently as they wish. I never complain about getting a huge amount of emails. It’s my job.
Do you find press conferences, trips, parties and other events useful or an interruption?
It very much depends. Sometimes the resulting feature could have been done just as well by sending information in an email or on a CD. Sometimes personal attendance gets you an angle that yo otherwise wouldn’t have thought of or been able to execute. The thing is, it’s difficult to judge beforehand as to whether attending is worth it or not.
If you could make one change to the way PRs deal with you, what would it be?
Talk to me like a normal person rather than an over-rehearsed or insincere robot. I’m happy to say that the PRs I deal with are rarely like that.
How would you pay the bills if you weren’t a journalist?
I often wonder how I pay the bills when I am a journalist!
If we gave you £1000, how would you spend it?
I’d take my wife on the honeymoon that she deserves.
What books are on your bedside table, magazines in your bag, or blogs on your screen?
“Lies Inc” by Philip K Dick. The Lonely Planet guide to the United States. “The Authentic Gospel” by Geza Vermes. Dirt mountain bike magazine. Dazed & Confused magazine.