In today’s Focus, we chat with Kerry Hiatt about her work in freelance journalism:
About your journalism:
What do you write about?
I was a staff writer for a travel trade publication for two years and now specialise in travel and dating, however, write extensively on lifestyle, relationships, women’s issues, food and careers. I love meeting people, hearing their amazing tales and producing real-life stories that they can be proud of. Most recently, I have been focussing on writing about mental health as I desperately want to see a reduction in the stigma attached to those who suffer with depression, bipolar and other mental health conditions. It’s not all seriousness of course as I adore writing quirky first-person pieces and my sense of adventure is second to none. Whether I’m training to be a butler in a remote country house, taking part in a pirate dinner show or learning improvised comedy in a day and performing in front of 300 people in Amsterdam, I’ll rise to the challenge if it’s for a feature.
I edit the dating ideas and lifestyle website www.getupandout.com too, which keeps me insanely busy.
Where are we likely to see your work?
The Daily Mail, The Daily Express, The Guardian, The Independent, Psychologies, The Times, Time Out, as well as trade magazines and local newspapers. As I’ve already mentioned, I’m the editor of www.getupandout.com – a dating ideas and lifestyle website for London – too.
What’s the most memorable work you’ve done?
I wrote about my desire to be surgically sterilised before my wedding at the age of 24 last year. I have never wanted to have children but felt there was a huge stigma attached to women who made that choice. I submitted the piece, jumped on a place to The States – where I was living at the time – and thought no more about it until the feature was published. One morning, groggy and with a cup of coffee of my hand, I logged into my e-mails to find hundreds of messages from women all over the world. Some felt my decision was selfish and monstrous whilst others thanked me for being so open, as they too had felt the same way for many years but didn’t know how to break the news to their friends and family. I did lots of TV and radio work on the subject and am proud to have made a difference to some peoples´ lives.
What interview or feature would you love the chance to do?
It’s not technically an interview or a feature but I would love the opportunity to write an ongoing column about living with depression.
About you and PRs:
Where do you source ideas for articles?
A lot of lovely PRs contact me directly but I use Response Source, various blogs and newspapers to source ideas.
How can PRs be useful to you?
Take a look at www.getupandout.com – if you have something you think might fit, great, send it over. We’re always on the lookout for new stuff.
How and when do you like them to get in touch?
Any day of the week is fine but please, only by e-mail.
Do you find press conferences, trips, parties and other events useful or an interruption?
If they are relevant, they’re always useful.
If you could make one change to the way PRs deal with you, what would it be?
I’ve been very lucky in that the PRs I deal with on a regular basis are just lovely. I think you need to have a sense of humour – I much prefer to build a good, easy-going relationship with a PR.
How would you pay the bills if you weren’t a journalist?
One of the great things about being a freelance journalist is that you can fulfill several career aspirations whilst writing. First-person journalism has given me the opportunity to try out careers in comedy, zoo keeping and burlesque; all of which I would consider. Although, as my mother constantly reminds me, we’re from a family of travellers so I would likely end up working a circus, which sort of combines all three doesn’t it?
If we gave you £1000, how would you spend it?
I would put it towards the amazing official launch party we’re planning in October for www.getupandout.com. It’s going to be a big ‘un.
What books are on your bedside table, magazines in your bag, or blogs on your screen?
There’s a trail of books and magazines all over my house. Narrow it down? Meh, maybe another time.