Hazel Davis is a freelance journalist specialising in music, careers and education. She also writes on property, travel, comedy and food and her work has appeared in the Daily Telegraph, Billboard and The Guardian.
This week, FeaturesExec caught up with Hazel to discuss her work, working with PRs and to find out what was the best piece of advice she has ever been given.
About your journalism:
What do you write about?
A ludicrously diverse amount of stuff. My main specialisms are music, careers and education but I tend to turn my hand to most things and also write about property, travel, comedy, food and anything that takes my interest/pays the bills, really.
Where are we likely to see your work?
I write a lot for the Guardian, Billboard, Financial Times, Daily Telegraph, Muso. In recent months Pest Control News (rock AND roll).
What’s the most memorable work you’ve done?
So hard to say. Sometimes the most superficially boring things are the most fun and vice versa. I really enjoyed writing about a care farm in Wetherby. Spending time with excluded kids and watching them shine in a different environment was really rewarding. Being able to write about the good work they do was fulfilling. I have had some memorable interviews with inspiring people.
About you and PRs:
Where do you source ideas for articles?
It varies. Sometimes it’s through direct contact with PRs, sometimes it’s from reading other stories and sometimes it’s word of mouth.
How can PRs be useful to you?
I think they already are! Having case studies available always helps though and realising that two days isn’t short notice in hackland.
How and when do you like them to get in touch?
Sometimes it’s the luck of the draw. I tend to prefer email but the right phone call at the right time is fine! You have to be psychic to know when that is though.
Do you find press conferences, trips, parties and other events useful or an interruption?
I usually find any networking events hugely beneficial. They increase the circle of contacts and maximises story opportunities. Putting yourself out there as a PR and as a journalist can only be a good thing.
If you could make one change to the way PRs deal with you, what would it be?
I don’t think I would really. There are some who are better than others but on the whole I think I get on quite well with them. I think they get a bad press amongst journalists sometimes but we’re all just doing our job. I don’t reply to emails as often as I should sometimes though….
How would you pay the bills if you weren’t a journalist?
In an ideal world as a folk singer (not sure MANY bills would be paid though). Prior to this lark I was in academia so probably lecturing in linguistics.
If we gave you £1000, how would you spend it?
Bruce Springsteen tickets and a Vivienne Westwood trenchcoat.
What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you?
Give up your day job.
What books are on your bedside table, magazines in your bag, or blogs on your screen?
By my bed is A Farewell To Arms by Ernest Hemingway (which I am LOVING but reading VERY slowly on account of never having time) and Pontoon by Garrison Keillor (which I ADORE but loath to finish until he hurries up and writes another one), I usually have a copy of Heat magazine and the New Yorker in whatever bag I am carrying and I regularly read Sarah Millican (comedian and friend)’s blog (www.sarahmillican.co.uk/category/blog) as it makes me laugh uproariously.
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