We revisit our interview with freelance journalist Emily Dubberley and learn more about her work, how she gets ideas for features and how PRs can be useful in this FeaturesExec Focus.
About your journalism:
What do you write about?
Sex, love, relationships, book reviews, author interviews, gadget reviews and general lifestyle.
Where are we likely to see your work?
Scarlet, Look, More, Company and most of the glossies.
What’s the most memorable work you’ve done?
Either my books or my Emily-at-large columns for Scarlet in which I reported on something ‘wild’ that I tried each month. Some ‘highlights’ included doing a stand-up comedy routine after only two hours training; doing a striptease in front of 500 people at the Clapham Grand; going on a naturist holiday (from hell); having my genitals cast internally, externally, and while having sex; and cage dancing as a devil girl at a gig for The Damned wearing nothing but red body paint, horns, a thong and two carefully positioned pieces of gaffer tape. I gave it up after three years as there’s definitely such a thing as too many naked commissions.
What interview or feature would you love the chance to do?
A huge feature for one of the Sunday supplements on the Hay Literary Festival would be fun, so I could spend ages interviewing other writers and hanging out at the festival. Spending a day as a man for one of the women’s mags (with cunning use of make-up but convincingly so) would be interesting too as it could bring up all kind of gender issues. It’d be good to see whether men and women really are treated differently.
Where do you source ideas for articles?
Generally my imagination but I also get the Response Source email every day and go through that to see if there are any things I can write about. And I have to admit, a lot of the ideas for articles arise when I’m down the pub with friends.
How can PRs be useful to you?
Send me information on what they’re doing, invite me along to press events to network with other journalists, and most importantly, if I ask for information on a product I want to write about, actually send it promptly. Ditto pics. Making sure that someone else is covering your email when you’re out of the office is essential as a lot of the time, I need pics and price details at very short notice.
How and when do you like them to get in touch?
Email, which means any time is fine. If they must phone, afternoons are best as I work until up to 4am so mornings are not my friend.
Do you find press conferences, trips, parties and other events useful or an interruption?
Incredibly useful, as long as they do what they say they’re going to. Turning up to something and having to queue for hours to get in or having no one to talk to about the product is irritating.
If you could make one change to the way PRs deal with you, what would it be?
They’d understand lead times and not try to pitch me Valentine’s features in February, 3 months after I’ve filed all of my Valentine’s copy. Oh, and not insist on knowing my life story before they send information for a feature. Some PRs make you feel you have to beg to get a £2.99 product sample or even just a press release.
How would you pay the bills if you weren’t a journalist?
I’d go back to marketing – before I became a journalist I spent seven years as a marketer and was up to Marketing Director level so it’d make sense. But hopefully, after writing a few more books, I could just be a lady of leisure arranging charity events and living off royalties even if I stopped doing journalism. You’ve got to have a dream…
If we gave you £1000, how would you spend it?
On a holiday – I haven’t had a break in about five years. OK, it’s selfish but I spent half last year arranging a £10,000 Macmillan fundraiser so I figure I’m allowed a bit of indulgence.
What books are on your bedside table, magazines in your bag, or blogs on your screen?
Big piles of review copies, a Katie Fforde for escapist fun, a Mil Millington for laugh out loud funniness and a Paulo Coelho for spiritual escapism. Mags-wise, most of the glossies along with The Guardian/Observer weekend supplement, New Scientist and Private Eye, plus ETO (Erotic Trade Only – the monthly trade press for the adult industry). I’m a voracious reader so tend to have at least one book and a couple of magazines in my bag.
Blog-wise, http://monmouth.blogspot.com/ and http://girlwithaonetrackmind.blogspot.com/ along with random people I
find, generally through those two sites.
The Freelance Journalist Directory on http://www.journalistdirectory.com/pr/ provides information on over 5,000 freelance journalists – we’ll be running regular interviews with journalist members of the Directory so let us know if there’s someone you’d like to hear more about on firstname.lastname@example.org.
[lnk|http://www.journalistdirectory.com/pr/XEgm/Emily-Dubberley|_blank|Emily Dubberley – Freelance Journalist Directory listing]