In today’s focus interview we catch up with freelance journalist Juliet England.
About your journalism:
What do you write about?
Literally anything and everything – from ski-ing holidays to technology to thermostatic shower valves. But I have an interest in deafness and hearing loss, being hearing impaired myself, and have written a book about it. So I particularly enjoy writing about those subjects and the issues surrounding them.
Where are we likely to see your work?
I have written for many national papers and magazines over the years, as well as local and regional press. Everything from the News of the World to the Christian Herald! These days, I’m a regular contributor to Hearing Times, and do a lot of writing for the web. Recent credits have also included Cycling Weekly, Berkshire Life, Surrey Monocle, Writers’ News and Inspire, a Christian magazine. (Though I’m not religious myself.)
What’s the most memorable work you’ve done?
Most definitely the one book I’ve written to date – Deafness and Hearing Loss: An Essential Guide. Incredibly hard work and submitted to the publisher embarrassingly late, but there’s nothing quite like cutting open a box and seeing the volumes inside with your name on them.
What interview or feature would you love the chance to do?
I have a contact in Cameroon, where deafness is viewed as a curse and something to be ashamed of. I’d love someone to pay me to travel there, meet my contact in person and learn more and write about her amazing work to change attitudes in more detail.
About you and PRs:
Where do you source ideas for articles?
Through people I know, occasionally through a PR or otherwise through good old-fashioned research.
How can PRs be useful to you?
Above all by having an appreciation of my deadlines and by giving me what I need on time, whether that’s the right quality photos or access to someone I want to interview. I’ve worked with PR and Press Officers for several charities and companies producing products which help people to hear, and, generally speaking, have found them very helpful. It works best when there’s an established relationship, and when the PR can give me a story I wouldn’t otherwise know about.
How and when do you like them to get in touch?
Email is the best way for contact. Like many journalists I find over persistence a real turn-off. If I am interested in a story I will get back to them.
Do you find press conferences, trips, parties and other events useful or an interruption?
No, it’s not an interruption. I’m always up for hearing about any opportunities. But it doesn’t mean I will be able to accept all of them.
If you could make one change to the way PRs deal with you, what would it be?
To be honest my contact with PRs is rather more limited these days, so that’s a hard one. But, as I’ve said above, having a sense of urgency for my deadlines and what I need is the most crucial thing.
How would you pay the bills if you weren’t a journalist?
Either as a novelist or writer of travel books – I like to think I’d still be putting words together in some way. Perhaps someone would also pay me to be a courier and travel the world, as long as it was legal! Teaching or working in a library are other ideas I’ve flirted with.
If we gave you £1000, how would you spend it?
Most definitely on a holiday as I haven’t had a chance to take one this year. The further away from home (in Reading) the better …
What books are on your bedside table, magazines in your bag, or blogs on your screen?
My bedside table is a monument to good reading intentions never quite realised. But currently (quite) enjoying Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love and loving Jean Kwok’s Girl in Translation. Also reading Simon Singh and Edzard Ernst’s brilliant Trick or Treatment about alternative medicine for a non-fiction book group I’m in. The Fry Chronicles, A Rusty Gun by Noel Smith and Howard Jacobson’s Kalooki Nights are next on the list.
I’m far too stingy to buy magazines but flick through old ones at the dentist or doctor or if they get left behind on a train. For newspapers I stick, with a spectacular lack of imagination, to the Guardian and the Observer. I read few blogs, but the Daily Mash is always good for a laugh.