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Freelance Journalist Focus: Darryl Bullock

Darryl Bullock is a freelance journalist who writes on food and drink and his work has appeared in Venue, Folio and The Spark in the west country.

This week, FeaturesExec caught up with Darryl to discuss his work, how PRs can be helpful to him, the Beatles and Steve Harley.

About your journalism:

What do you write about?
Mostly food and drink, although I cover a wide range of other subjects, from lesbian and gay issues to environment, sustainability and local news.

Where are we likely to see your work?
Venue Magazine (Bristol and Bath’s weekly what’s on guide); The Spark (the West Country’s ethical quarterly); Essentially Catering (50,000 copies nationally to customers of the Batley’s/Bestway cash and carry chain); Folio (Bath and Bristol’s monthly lifestyle glossy); A Bear’s Life (USA) and many others.

What’s the most memorable work you’ve done?
One of the first pieces of writing I ever did was scripting a radio show about the career of Steve Harley (of Cockney Rebel fame) who was a huge hero of mine. Halfway through the live broadcast I was asked to come into the studio as Steve wanted to meet me. I’ve met dozens of famous people since but that will always stand out; I was completely tongue tied!

What interview or feature would you love the chance to do?
I love interviewing people who are passionate about what they do, be they musicians, scientists, writers or food producers. My ideal job would be to spend a day with anyone who has a real enthusiasm for their work and their life. It’s infectious.

About you and PRs:

Where do you source ideas for articles?
Luckily most of my work is commissioned, but I also rely on PR services like Response Source or releases sent to me direct from agencies (I get in excess of 100 emails a day!) for leads and ideas.

How can PRs be useful to you?
Well written press releases are essential, succinct but at the same time full of good, informed contacts. Badly written press releases are a waste of my time. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been sent a press release about an event that forgets to include the date of the actual event or relevant contact details.

How and when do you like them to get in touch?
Email is easiest in the first instance. I’m never far away from either my computer or my phone.

Do you find press conferences, trips, parties and other events useful or an interruption?
Press jollies can be fun, and there’s nothing better than proper face-to-face time, but I’m not one for networking parties.

If you could make one change to the way PRs deal with you, what would it be?
Please read your press release through two or three times before hitting ‘send’. When you’re writing for a weekly publication you’re always up against it and you need dates, times, phone numbers and email addresses. Also, many of us have long lead times – there’s no point in sending out a press release for something happening tomorrow if the publication is a monthly or a quarterly! You’d be surprised how often these things get missed.

About you:

How would you pay the bills if you weren’t a journalist?
It would have to be connected with food in some way – probably working in an organic grocers or a decent pub.

If we gave you £1000, how would you spend it?
The first £350 would go on the mono and stereo box sets of the Beatles’ remastered CDs, the rest on a new bed.

What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you?
Give up smoking, it’s bad for you.

What books are on your bedside table, magazines in your bag, or blogs on your screen?
I’m currently reading Valentine Warner’s What to Eat Now and What to Eat Now – More Please! I’ve just interviewed him for the October edition of Folio. He’s a delightful man, and absolutely passionate about good, seasonal British food. The blog would be, my pet project.
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