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Focus interview with freelance journalist Tamasine Johnson

Tamasine Johnson is a freelance journalist who writes on all subjects; money, education, travel – “You name it, I write about it”.

This week, FeaturesExec caught up with Tamasine to discuss her work, press trips and Bristol.

About your journalism:

What do you write about?
You name it, I write about it. I once got told the sign of a really good writer is one who can get passionate about any subject! I’m currently writing: a piece on the recession and its effects on the TV industry; a feature on furniture refits in Universities; and a travel piece entitled, Travel myths – truth or lies?

Where are we likely to see your work?
I write regularly for and UB Magazine. I also sub edit for Venue. I’ve only just started freelancing so I’m looking to build up my client base.

What’s the most memorable work you’ve done?
My work on 0117 – Made in Bristol. I was lucky enough to edit this one-off magazine. It’s an international title, funded by the RDA, to promote Bristol as a creative centre for excellence. It’s jam-packed with features about Bristol’s most creative minds. As well as editing and commissioning the content, I wrote a large number of features myself as I found the subject so interesting. One particular favourite was a feature about a woman called Fleur T – she’s a very successful lingerie designer who runs her business from her front room in Bristol.

What interview or feature would you love the chance to do?
I would love to interview Barbara Follett – Minister for Culture and the Creative Industries. I would ask her to justify why regional funding for the arts is constantly being slashed.

About you and PRs:

Where do you source ideas for articles?
National press, local press, RSS feeds, press releases.

How and when do you like PR’s to get in touch?
By email – when they have a great story!

Do you find press conferences, trips, parties and other events useful or an interruption?
Useful – as long as I get enough warning.

If you could make one change to the way PRs deal with you, what would it be?
To let me know if a quote isn’t coming in, as opposed to assuming I’ve worked that out for myself.

About you:

How would you pay the bills if you weren’t a journalist?
I’ve just got a new camera and am taking classes in becoming a better photographer – so perhaps as a photographer. And if not, I’d spruce up and hire out my classic mini for weddings. I am getting married soon and have been looking for a nice Mini for my wedding car – and I can’t find one for love nor money!

If we gave you £1000, how would you spend it? On my honeymoon. We’re trying to book somewhere at the moment and can’t decide where to go – maybe a cash injection would give us the kick up the bum we need to decide!

What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you?
It sounds cheesy but – ‘Carpe diem’ – ‘Seize the day’. I saw Dead Poets Society when I was 17 and have lived my life by this principal ever since.

What books are on your bedside table, magazines in your bag, or blogs on your screen?
My whole spare room is full of old magazines – I hate to throw them out. If I look on my desk right now I can see copies of Condé Nast Traveller, Press Gazette, Olive, Food and Travel, Marie Claire, Diver, NMA, and Lonely Planet Magazine. As for books I’ve just finished The Time Traveler’s Wife and loved it. As for blogs, I read so many: that’s what’s so great about them – dip in, dip out!
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