Freelance journalist Lisa Lynch, author of the recently released ‘The C-Word’ discusses with FeaturesExec the importance of relevant press releases and how she would love to interview the ‘forgotten’ Beatle.
About your journalism:
What do you write about?
Anything from women’s-interest features to pop culture. But recently, it’s been a somewhat unconventional mix of homes and interiors and, um, cancer. But right now I’m also working on my first novel which, refreshingly, is about neither.
Where are we likely to see your work?
I edit the interiors pages for Fabric magazine, and have recently written for Glamour, The Financial Times, BBC Online, The Irish Independent and Bella among a number of others.
What’s the most memorable work you’ve done?
It’d have to be writing my first book, The C-Word which was based on my blog, Alright Tit (alrighttit.blogspot.com). Like most people, I’d always dreamed of getting a book published, but never could I have imagined that it’d happen as a result of being diagnosed with breast cancer. But them’s the breaks, and so I took the hand that fate dealt and turned it into a new career move.
What interview or feature would you love the chance to do?
Rather cheesily, I’d love to swap cancer stories with Kylie, but otherwise I’d have to say Jimmy Nicol. He suddenly and unexpectedly became world famous for a fortnight in 1964 when he was asked to temporarily replace Ringo Starr in The Beatles while Ringo was hospitalised with tonsillitis. The fact that he had such a rare glimpse into Beatlemania at its peak, but then went back to life as an unknown drummer immediately afterwards, is hugely fascinating to me. Mind you, I’m sure I’ve got about as much chance of interviewing Jimmy as I have of becoming a Beatle myself, given that he’s never sought to gain from his story and is reportedly living as a recluse.
Where do you source ideas for articles?
I find that spending too much time on Twitter pays off in terms of ideas… honest! But mostly from press releases that catch my eye. That said, drunken conversations with my friends often tend to come up trumps too. The notebook I carry in my handbag is filled with indecipherable scrawlings made after one too many G&Ts.
About you and PRs:
How can PRs be useful to you?
With relevant press releases sent to the right person. In fact, I read an excellent blog post this week on getting press releases right, and I think it should be used as a mantra. (http://www.stuffbyme.co.uk/post/Press-release-gripes.aspx)
How and when do you like them to get in touch?
I always prefer email, mostly because I like to digest press information in my own time.
Do you find press conferences, trips, parties and other events useful or an interruption?
On the whole, very useful. It’s always good to know what’s on when – I just wish my schedule allowed me to make it to all the events I add to my calendar.
If you could make one change to the way PRs deal with you, what would it be?
Never to send an imageless press release. If I can’t see what is being talked about in a release, I tend to bin it immediately. Oh, and spending five lines talking about the weather, then just three talking about the product in question.
How would you pay the bills if you weren’t a journalist?
I mentioned recently that perhaps I’d like to be a florist, but that was met by a chorus of laughs from my family who know full well that I’d never be able to hack early mornings at flower markets. I would love, however, for my journalism to lead me into becoming an author full-time. I’m working hard at it, so we’ll see…
If we gave you £1000, how would you spend it?
Louboutin shoes and a Marc Jacobs handbag. I’ve even bookmarked the exact ones I’m after for such a time as I win the lottery. Which will obviously happen.
What books are on your bedside table, magazines in your bag, or blogs on your screen?
Right now I’m reading Kill Your Friends by John Niven which, so far, is utterly hilarious and filled with those awful, guilty laughs. A completely different – but nonetheless wonderful – book I’ve recently finished is Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey. It’s so beautifully written that I was jealous to the point of sickness to discover that its author is only – gulp – 26. Magazine-wise, I’m evangelical about how free mags such as Stylist, ShortList and Sport are, frankly, kicking the ass of everything else out there (no surprise, then, that I mostly choose Wednesday to Friday as my days in the Fabric office). And when I’m not writing my own blog, I spend time reading those which I link to on Alright Tit. I can’t, however, let Bete de Jour go without a mention here (http://betedejour.blogspot.com/) – he’s one hell of a writer.