Freelance Journalist interview with Heather Dixon
About your journalism
Hello Heather! According to your JournalistDirectory profile, you specialise in homes, interiors and self-build journalism, as well as rural businesses, crafts and traditions – where might we have seen your work?
These days 95 percent of my work is for the mainstream national interiors and build magazines, but I also have a regular spot in Yorkshire Life and contribute to countryside magazines when I can.
What’s the most memorable work you’ve done?
One of the great things about journalism is that you get an insight into all kinds of worlds, as well as the chance to meet and write about truly inspirational people whose stories might otherwise go untold. I could fill a book with memorable interviews!
What interview or feature would you still love the chance to do?
When I worked in newspapers I regularly interviewed celebrities, and still regret the fact that I never had the chance to interview Sir Anthony Hopkins. I still get tremendous satisfaction from writing about the extraordinary and beautiful homes people create for themselves, but I would also like to spend more time writing about people who live and work in the countryside.
What would be your dream house; is there a property you’ve written about or seen that you’ve fallen in love with?
I regularly fall in love with people’s homes! The most fascinating are those which truly reflect the owner’s personality, which are creative and individual, and homes which involve great artistic or architectural design ideas. My dream home would be an elegant Colonial style property, full of light and character, with amazing art, a large old battered farmhouse table and reclaimed wooden floors.
About you and PRs
Where do you source ideas for articles?
Mainly through talking to people and word of mouth.
How can PRs be useful to you?
It’s really helpful when PRs understand what I am looking for and recognise the need for exclusivity with case studies, so I don’t waste anyone’s time chasing stories that have already been picked up by someone else.
Do you find press conferences, trips, parties and other events useful or an interruption?
Unfortunately, I don’t have time for press events, especially as most of them are in London and I am based in Yorkshire.
Would you describe yourself as a rural or city girl?
A bit of both. I live and work in a small village but I do need a city ‘fix’ every now and then.
Do you watch any of the many property programmes on television? What do you think of them, and do you have a favourite?
I do enjoy Grand Designs, but after writing about homes all day I prefer to unwind in front of a good drama.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I always wanted to be a journalist and joined the local newspaper as a cub reporter as soon as I could. I would do it all again if I could.
Do you tweet?
No. I know I should because everyone tells me it’s such a great communication tool, but so far I haven’t felt the need…
You’ve won regional and national writing competitions – what did you write about? What makes a ‘winning’ piece of writing?
I wrote a lot of fiction when I was younger and enjoyed a few successes, but most of it is still sitting in a wooden chest at home waiting to be discovered or thrown out. I think a good piece of journalistic writing should be well-structured, thought-provoking and capable of reaching as wide an audience as possible.