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Focus with Jo Middleton, freelance journalist

Today’s focus is with Jo Middleton, a freelance journalist specialising in parenting, breastfeeding and issues affecting women. She also runs her own blog, Slummy Single Mummy.

About your journalism:

What do you write about?
I write about anything that sparks an interest, but particularly parenting, kids, women, the environment and anything that involves me forming a controversial opinion.

Where are we likely to see your work?
I’m the breastfeeding expert for The Green Parent and write for a wide range of other publications – both print and online, national and local – including The Daily Mail, Guardian online, The Spark, Ethical Living magazine and lots of other stuff. You can see some recent examples on my website: I also write a blog about single parenting –

What’s the most memorable work you’ve done?
A few weeks ago I went on a Flirting Tour of London – I basically had to roam the city centre with a pack of other women randomly smiling at men and trying to engage them in conversation in Tesco Metro. It was lots of fun.

What interview or feature would you love the chance to do?
Aside from the obvious ‘the ten best beach side cocktail bars around the world’, I’d love to interview Nick Clegg. I have a bit of a political crush.

About you and PRs:

Where do you source ideas for articles?
Lots come from daily life, encounters with strangers and chance remarks from friends. I do sometimes pick out quirky stories from the news or get sparked by press releases.

How can PRs be useful to you?
I work with PRs to get ideas and inspiration, good case studies and expert comments.

How and when do you like them to get in touch?
I have a bit of a phone phobia so I like email. I’m always happy to get emails when I should be doing something else. Like interacting with my children – work can be a welcome distraction.

Do you find press conferences, trips, parties and other events useful or an interruption?
Relevant events can definitely be useful, but living in Somerset means I’m not often able to attend London-based events.

If you could make one change to the way PRs deal with you, what would it be?
I’m quite happy with the relationships I have with PRs.

About you:

How would you pay the bills if you weren’t a journalist?
I do already work part time as a Marketer and Charity Fundraising Consultant, so I’d probably do that. In a different life though I’ve always quite fancied being a professional dancer. I just don’t have the legs for it though…

If we gave you £1000, how would you spend it?
How I normally spend money – nice food, good quality gin, books and magazines.

What books are on your bedside table, magazines in your bag, or blogs on your screen?
Next to my bed are Jasper Fforde’s ‘Shades of Grey’, which I’ve just finished and really enjoyed. I’m also part way through Natasha Walter’s ‘Living Dolls: The Return of Sexism’. When I’m feeling less cerebral I love a good Nancy Drew mystery.

[img|jpg|Jo Middleton]