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Focus interview with freelance journalist James Hutchison

James Hutchison is a freelance sports writer, with a love of rugby and golf. He manages The Rugby Blog and his work has featured in The Daily Telegraph and BBC News.

Here, Hutchison tells us who he’d most like to interview, and how he’d spend £1,000.

About your journalism:

What do you write about?
Sport, sport and more sport. Specifically rugby, golf, cricket, football and tennis, but will gladly watch, discuss with anyone who will listen, and write about any sport on the planet.

Where are we likely to see your work?
Your best bet is The Rugby Blog which I manage and features plenty of my writing, but I have also recently started working with ProSport Business Magazine. I’ve been published in numerous publications and websites and I’ve previously had a golf column in The Daily Telegraph.

What’s the most memorable work you’ve done?
I wrote an article on The Rugby Blog during the Rugby World Cup that was referred to on the BBC News homepage (without any prompting). I remember seeing that traffic had gone through the roof and was delighted when I saw where it was coming from.

My work on The Rugby Blog is always the highlight – it’s the sport I’m most passionate about, and I have the freedom to pursue any story or angle that I like. I have the scope to write articles ranging from the complexities of law changes in rugby, to the frivolities of a fantasy team made up of cartoon characters.

What interview or feature would you love the chance to do?
I’d like to have dinner with Steve Thompson, Lewis Moody, Matt Dawson, Mike Catt, Neil Back, Martin Johnson and Jonny Wilkinson – they all touched the ball in the dying seconds of the 2003 World Cup final, and I’d like them to talk me through it!

About you and PRs:

Where do you source ideas for articles?
Primarily news sites, journals and magazines. However, the nature of The Rugby Blog means that readers send in article suggestions, comments and feedback that seems to generate an abundance of ideas.

How can PRs be useful to you?
If PRs can provide interesting material that could be turned into a feature article, or something that I can form an opinion about, then I am always interested to hear from them.

How and when do you like them to get in touch?
By email, and whenever there is a relevant story with a sporting element.

Do you find press conferences, trips, parties and other events useful or an interruption?
Networking is an important aspect of being a freelance writer so I tend to judge events like this on their individual merits, but generally as a sports journalist, I am always keen for sporting trips and away days.

If you could make one change to the way PRs deal with you, what would it be?
I actually quite enjoy working with most PRs, so no complaints from me.

About you:

How would you pay the bills if you weren’t a journalist?
I’d love to be a professional golfer and paid well for a sport I love. Unfortunately, my game’s not quite up to it so I’ll stick to the writing.

If we gave you £1000, how would you spend it?
I’m getting married next year, so I’d probably put it towards something extra special for the big day. Thank you – cheques payable to James Hutchison.

What books are on your bedside table, magazines in your bag, or blogs on your screen?
In terms of blogs, there’s no need to look beyond The Rugby Blog. Otherwise I subscribe to International Rugby News, Rugby World and Golf Monthly and when I find the time, I’m a voracious reader of books as well.
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