Freelance Journalist Interview with Kate O’Flaherty

Well, not actual immortality, but certainly a recent article for Popular Science UK on the subject.

Kate's also contributed to titles such as The Inquirer, Government IT magazine, Health Director, Marketing Week, Wireless Magazine and We find out what goes into her work on tech, science, comms and health, as well as what this journalist would like for Christmas.

About your journalism

What do you write about?

Mainly b2b and consumer technology, including mobile and cyber security, but I've also ventured into science and broadcast.

Where are we likely to see your work?

I have only been fully freelance for three months; most recently you'll find my work in Wireless Magazine and Popular Science UK.

What's the most memorable work you've done?

During my time as deputy editor at Mobile Magazine I broke the story of the O2 and Vodafone network share deal, which was pretty significant in the industry.

More recently, the feature I wrote for Popular Science UK about the possibility humans might one day be immortal, or be able to extend their lives, was incredibly interesting to research.

What interview or feature would you love the chance to do?

On the science side it would be Richard Dawkins, and on the tech side Jonathan Ive, Warren East, or Jeff Bezos. I'm a bit of a music geek so even though it's a bit out of my remit, I'd also like to interview Jack White from the White Stripes. Is that allowed? [Hmm. Yes, I think we can allow this – The Interviewer]

About you and PRs

Where do you source ideas for articles?

By reading all the magazines that fit my remit, as well as a daily trawl of all news websites and social networks such as Twitter.

Do you find that your idea of what makes a story and a PR's tends to differ? How?

A PR's idea of a story will often be dictated by the clients' needs rather than those of the journalist. Sometimes the PR hasn't bothered to personalise their pitch. If offering interviews, it really has to be a big name to interest me.

Of all the press releases you receive on a daily basis, what percentage of them do you get inspiration from?

Maybe about 30%. Anything I get about government reports, announcements from regulators such as Ofcom, or big career moves in the tech sector.

Do you find press conferences, trips, parties and other events useful or an interruption?

It totally depends on the outcome. If I am not going to get anything to write about out of it it's not much use to me. Events are great for networking, and press conferences can be useful if done well.                 

About you

Do you find Twitter useful for your work?

I usually use Twitter for a break from my work! But yes, it's great to keep up on breaking news as well as to chat to other journos and people interested in the same industries.

Also, we noticed there are lots of cute dog pictures on your twitter – who is this lovely dog?

He is my lovely jackapoo (my husband insists we call him a 'jack-russell-poodle-cross') puppy called Dennis. He is both an insane little terror and a joy. He keeps me company while I work from my home office.

What books are on your bedside table, magazines in your bag, or blogs on your screen?

I am a massive fan of Ian McEwan, and I've also recently got into Haruki Murakami and Gary Shteyngart. My husband has also bought me 'The Man Who Knew Too Much' by David Leavitt, which I'm really looking forward to reading. On the magazines side, I love New Scientist and Grazia. The two sides of the intellectual coin.

What piece of tech could you not do without? Are there any upcoming tech releases you're especially excited about (and would queue up overnight for)?

I don't think I would queue overnight for anything, but I do have a love-hate relationship with my iPhone 4S. The iPhone 5 doesn't appeal to me, but I'm looking forward to when Apple phones take on an entirely new form factor, if that ever happens.

Apple or Microsoft?

Hardware or software? Both produce software that makes me angry. If I had to choose between them as companies, I guess it would be Apple, for the brand. And Apple doesn't make me quite as angry as Microsoft.

What are you hoping to get for Christmas this year?

An iPad Mini?! I think I would be lucky though. I'd quite like a Nexus 7 too. And a Kindle Paperwhite. My Christmas hopes are looking quite tablet-themed.

If you're tempted to find out exactly what Dennis the jackapoo looks like (as well as getting in touch with Kate, of course), head over to @kateoflaherty.

More information on Kate's work can also be found at her website:

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