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Freelance Journalist Focus: Jamie Cotter-Craig

Freelance journalist and blogger Jamie Cotter-Craig is today’s Focus interviewee. Having previously written restaurant reviews for the sadly departed ICON magazine, his work now includes writing about bubble tea, royal weddings and the last supper…

About your journalism:

What do you write about?
I write about food and drink on a blog. I like to take a wry look at things that may or may not be of interest to other people.

What’s the most memorable work you’ve done?
I used to write the restaurant review pages for ICON magazine and travelled the world going out to eat. It was a very sad day when said publication folded. Since then I have written for many other publications but it was very recently that on my blog I wrote about bubble tea and the response to that was staggering, getting over 1,000 hits from around the world. It really made me realise that I was writing to a much bigger audience than I had imagined I would be when I set my blog up.

What interview or feature would you love the chance to do?
If time travel were possible I would like to write pieces on the turning of water into wine and the last supper.

Where do you source ideas for articles?
I try to be varied in this approach and use many different sources to make up the blog but generally I come up with the ideas myself. Today I have done one on the royal warrant holders and what they are selling for the royal wedding. Not earth shattering I know but it has generated a huge amount of hits and a few phone calls from publications wanting to use it.

How can PRs be useful to you?
They are of invaluable help in passing on information and images for the blog and they have been known to send samples, which is not only very kind of them but really does save a lot of time sourcing products I might want to write about.

How and when do you like them to get in touch?
I have a lot of time for PRs, I used to be one myself, if they want to get in touch that is fine by me. I will gladly listen or read what they have to say and then let them know if it would be of interest to me and if I will use it.

Do you find press conferences, trips, parties and other events useful or an interruption?
I think all of the above are important as it gives you the opportunity to mix with other like-minded people and you inevitably see things that you might have been blinkered on before in a completely different light. And it is always much better to be able to put a face to someone you deal with, and make it that much more personal, which the importance of in this day and age is somewhat forgotten.

If you could make one change to the way PRs deal with you, what would it be?
Not to all of them, just to some, but to say thank you for the coverage that they so desperately want and that you are able to give them.

About you:

How would you pay the bills if you weren’t a journalist?
I would be one of the world’s leading artists, failing that (which is quite likely), I would open a small bar on a beach somewhere well away from any of the Costas.

If we gave you £1000, how would you spend it?
As I write about food, I would feel bound to spend it on that. A huge tin of Caviar!!

What books are on your bedside table, magazines in your bag, or blogs on your screen?
I am reading the autobiographies of Noël Coward at the moment and am being amazed by what he did during the last war. I have a great liking for biographies and generally have one on the go. Don’t use a bag but if I did it would have a copy of Vanity Fair in it and my favourite blog is the foodie one on CNN called eatocracy.

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