Freelance Journalist Interview with Tanith Carey

Today we talk to freelancer Tanith Carey, who regularly writes for the national press, womens interest consumer titles, and many more in the UK as well as internationally. This former Daily Mirror features editor, woman's editor and American correspondent now writes on health, parenting, social change, real life, and sexuality, as well as authoring books such as the rather spectacularly-named 'Never Kiss a Man in a Canoe: Words of Wisdom from the Golden Age of Agony Aunts'. 

Our short interview with the 2003 Consumer Journalist of the Year uncovers what information is useful for the award-winning writer, and things that make her go "ooh". 

About your journalism

Tell us a bit about where we might have seen your work, and the kind of thing you write about…

I write for a very broad range of national newspapers and magazines. I started my national newspaper career on the Daily Mirror, but now work across the board . I am an ex-news reporter and I like to be versatile and so I also write new stories as it's a change of pace. 

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

Too many to name, I am afraid, over 22 years as a journalist – although being the US correspondent for the Daily Mirror and interviewing Simon Cowell at his home in Hollywood, among others, sticks in my mind, particularly as this impresses my children. 

Is there a feature or interview you haven’t fit in yet, but would love the chance to do?

There are so many features I want to write but haven't had time yet as I tend to have a lot of ideas and write about issues I can learn from. If I look back I often write about what I need to learn at the time.

You’ve also written a number of successful books, including ‘Never Kiss a Man in a Canoe: Words of Wisdom from the Golden Age of Agony Aunts’ – did you find any advice you personally found helpful while researching? 

From that book, I learnt that every single person in the world has a story that is worth writing from some point of view. I have probably learned more from my book about sexualisation 'Where Has My Little Girl Gone?' though as I have two daughters.

About you and PRs

Where do you source ideas for articles? What has been the strangest/most unusual source of inspiration for you?

I keep my eyes open all the time – and if anyone says something that makes me go “Ooh, that’s interesting” I write it down.

How can PRs be useful to you and when/how do you like them to get in touch?

A well-targeted email is best for me – with a very clear subject heading. I always appreciate it too when people DON'T email and especially don't ring during the school run!

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

To be honest, I very rarely get out of the office as I am very short on time, so my favourite way to meet PRs who I think I would work well with is Friday breakfast meetings.

About you

You’ve been nominated for the UK Press Gazette Scoop of the Year and the Guild of Health Writers Best National Newspaper Health Feature, and won the 2003 Consumer Journalist of the Year – how does it feel to be a winner, and what would your winning movie montage soundtrack of choice be?  

It feels fantastic because being a journalist can be like ploughing a very lonely furrow – especially these days. As for a soundtrack, anything by The Killers or Alt-J.

Do you find social media useful in your work?

Yes, very useful for keeping an eye on issues of interest and spreading ideas.

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

I like a lot of US publications which are beautifully edited and feel more practical: I like Real Simple and Oprah.

Tanith Carey is tweeting @TanithCarey.

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