Jennie Kermode: freelance journalist focus

Jennie Kermode is a freelance journalist writing on film and equalities. Her work has appeared in Eye For Film, Showstopper and Color Splash.

This week FeaturesExec caught up with Jennie to discuss her work, PRs and online media, and what she’d do if she wasn’t a journalist.

About your work:

What do you write about?
I have two principal strands to my writing, which often overlap. The first is entertainment, primarily film. I’ve interviewed A-listers but I’m also interested in human interest stories about newcomers to the industry. The second strand of my work is in equalities writing. This includes transgender, gay, lesbian, bisexual, intersex and disability issues.

Where are we likely to see your work?
I do a lot of review and feature work for Eye For Film, and I’m an entertainment correspondent at I’ve also developed several websites for PtS, done celebrity profiling for Yuddy, and written for magazines like Showstopper and Color Splash. I’ve published a novel, ‘The Orpheus Industry’, and have recently contributed to the anthology ‘Gendered Hearts’, which Alyson Press plan to release later this year.

What’s the most memorable work you’ve done?
I love covering film festivals. It’s exhausting, but nothing beats that buzz.

About you and PRs:

Where do you source ideas for articles?
Over the years I’ve built up a good network of contacts with arts organisations and campaign groups, which keep me in touch with their activities. I also visit a number of different websites for press releases and I use news services like Reuters.

How can PRs be useful to you?
It’s great when stories come to me! I’m always looking for leads in my areas of interest. If you have a press release, that’s great; if all you have is a product, it’s still worth getting in touch to see if we can work something out. I love it when PRs are flexible and prepared to teamwork to develop new angles.

Do you find press conferences, trips, parties and other events useful or an interruption?
This sort of thing can be very useful but I can only do so much of it, and being based outside London (in Glasgow) means I can’t get to everything I’m invited to, though I am sometimes able to send a colleague in my stead. I got into writing partly because I have a chronic illness and disability which mean it’s much easier for me to work from home. This can affect my ability to attend events. I appreciate it when PRs are able to send me transcripts of press conferences and Q&A’s that I can’t access directly.

If you could make one change to the way PRs deal with you, what would it be?
PRs need to start taking online media more seriously. It really puts me off working with them when the online publications I write for are overlooked in favour of print publications with far smaller circulations.

About you:

How would you pay the bills if you weren’t a journalist?
I’m currently doing a part time MRes, so I’d probably move into academia on a full time basis, doing research into the topics I write about now.

What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you?
Think about the good things. Freelancing can be tough and I don’t have the alternatives open to most people, but I really enjoy my job.
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