Today freelancer and owner of www.gardenandgreen.co.uk Nicholas Pringle gives us an insight into what he’s interested in writing about – nature conservation, renewable energy and WWII is just a taste…
About your journalism:
What do you write about?
Mostly stuff to do with gardening, nature conservation, the countryside, weather, renewable energy. etc. on a site I run called www.gardenandgreen.co.uk
Where are we likely to see your work?
On the website mentioned above. Every time I’ve applied for a job or sent ideas for articles I’ve got nowhere, so I just started doing my own stuff thanks to the internet and print on-demand publishing and ebooks.
What’s the most memorable work you’ve done?
I’ve recently been doing some audio interviews with some of the WWII veterans that are featured in a book I compiled called ‘The Unknown Warriors’, which is a collection of WWII veteran’s memories and what they think of the UK now. It was featured as a double page article in The Daily Mail when it came out.
What interview or feature would you love the chance to do?
In October 2010 an S.O.E Agent called Eileen Nearne passed away and had lived a very solitary life and died all alone. During the war she was tortured by the Gestapo and escaped prison camps to continue help the resistance. It would have been an honour to interview her. For features there’s too many to mention, but one I would love to do is to go right up to the top of Norway in the summer and winter. In the winter, write about how people in Tromso cope with nearly 24 hours of darkness, see how the Sami people live and take some photos of the Northern Lights. In the summer, write about the world’s most northernly botanical garden and the Midnight Sun Marathon and take some photos of the wildlife.
About you and PRs:
Where do you source ideas for articles?
Various places, sometimes it’s from the top of my head, other times from places like Twitter, Google News, press releases, etc.
How can PRs be useful to you?
It’s really useful to get press releases from the various nature and environment charities for story ideas, but I find that over time you fall off their lists when people move jobs and you have to keep asking to get them.
How and when do you like them to get in touch?
Phone or email is fine. When; anytime in daylight hours. I’d be a bit freaked out if someone called at 3.30 in the morning.
Do you find press conferences, trips, parties and other events useful or an interruption?
Never been invited to any!
If you could make one change to the way PRs deal with you, what would it be?
I think rather than just sending a press release, it’s good to have a proposal or idea in mind, as I don’t just add press releases to my site. So, it could be an idea for an article, interview, photo competition, prize draw, etc.
How would you pay the bills if you weren’t a journalist?
My Saturday job when I was at school was a lift boy in Fenwicks department store, so I soon learnt that every job has it’s ups and downs. Any job where it’s not totally mundane and you’re working with nice people is a good start. When I was a teenager I wanted to be a Sea King helicopter pilot, but the next answer will explain why that career never got off the ground…
If we gave you £1000, how would you spend it?
Laser eye surgery. Within an afternoon you can get 20/20 vision; that sounds like £1000 well spent!
What books are on your bedside table, magazines in your bag, or blogs on your screen?
The book I am reading at the moment is the SAS survival handbook; it’s a Collins Gem book and is small but packed with so much interesting information. I don’t really buy magazines, although I do like going onto websites such as The Week, Spectator, Top Gear, Mens Health, etc. I’ve always loved Youtube.com, there is some great WWII footage on it; interesting people doing their own interviews and films and when an event is happening like Libya, London riots, Occupy Wall Street there is often amateur footage or foreign news footage that is a real eye-opener.