journalists

Journalist of the Month

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Our Journalist of the month is Lizzy Dening, the Digital and Fitness Editor at Top Santé. When she’s not busy writing about workouts and women’s issues, she can be found volunteering for her local rape crisis centre. Her work has appeared in numerous publications including The Guardian, Grazia, Elle, Marie Claire, Mail Online, Women’s Health and Huff Post. Find out more about Lizzy in her answers to the SBPR questions below:

 

1.       What are the 5 words that best describe you?

Ambitious, energetic, creative, quirky and neurotic!

2.       What magazine do you love reading and why?

Apart from Top Santé of course, I’m a big fan of Cosmopolitan. I thought I’d outgrown it in my 20s, but under the direction of its editor Farrah Storr it’s still grabbing my interest well into my 30s and isn’t afraid to tackle challenging topics.

3.       What is your favourite book?

I first read Mrs Dalloway (Virginia Woolf) when I was at university and adored it, and there’s still something about it that allows my brain to reach an almost meditative state. I will also admit that in challenging times I’ve been known to indulge a childhood Harry Potter habit too.

4.       Which song makes you dance?

Anything Michael Jackson or Move On Up by Curtis Mayfield.

5.       What has been your best career moment?

Blagging a press trip to Hawaii for Grazia and taking my husband with me! It led to some real ‘pinch me’ moments, including snorkelling with manta rays, taking a helicopter over the cliffs featured in Jurassic Park, and watching a pod of spinner dolphins following our boat.

6.       What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?

Do more writing for yourself, not just for publications. I’ve been lucky enough to be featured in many of my favourite magazines and papers, but actually the work that’s brought me the most satisfaction are the things I’ve written for myself. I’ve recently started a blog about sexual violence and the media which is a topic I’ve become passionate about since working for the board of Peterborough Rape Crisis Centre. Writing for it without worrying about word counts or editorship has been liberating. https://rape-and-media.blogspot.com/

7.       Where are you happiest?

Anywhere with animals, or on my sofa with my husband and our cat Moomin.

8.       Who would be your number one dinner guest and why?

My best friend – she lives in Canada and we rarely get to see one another. She’s much funnier and more interesting than any celebrities.

9.       If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?

Infinite knowledge – or if that’s too big an ask, I’d like to be fluent in every language. My GCSEs in French and German just don’t really cut it.

10.   If you had to ask us one question what would it be?

If you were at Hogwarts, what form would your patronus take?

 

Interesting question Lizzy! See below for the SBPR answers:

Jess - A dog, because as long as I have enough sleep, good food and sufficient exercise I will be everyone’s friend.

Lizzie – Flamingo!!!

Alex - A monkey, because they always look as though they are thoroughly enjoying life.

Georgie - A dolphin, because my happy place is the sea (even though I only learnt to swim recently).

Raluca - A cat because they’re cute and fluffy!

Laura – A penguin apparently because I’m aggressive yet gentle, outgoing but shy, stable yet flighty! Plus I love the sea.

Sunny – A unicorn!!

Lu – A koala because I love hugs!

 

 

Journalist of the Month

Emma Joseph is a Features Writer at the newly revamped Dorset Living (previously Dorset Society) as well as the Daily Echo. She has taken some time away from writing fabulous lifestyle features to answer our famous ten questions!

1. What are the 5 words that best describe you? Organised; thoughtful; caring; calm (and a little) OCD!

2. What magazine do you love reading and why? It’s terrible, but I am a sucker for a bit of celebrity gossip, so it would have to be something like Closer, or OK! (My guilty pleasure!)

3. What is your favourite book? I’ll read anything really, but I particularly love Martina Cole. Her books are often quite uncomfortable reading, given the subject matter is usually prostitutes, drug addicts, domestic violence, murderers etc, but I always get completely sucked into them. I also like a good thriller - Tess Gerritsen is another favourite author.

4. Which song makes you dance? I LOVE a good boogie – anything cheesy or disco-y!

5. What has been your best career moment? When I was the Health Reporter at the Southern Daily Echo in Southampton I did a story about an anonymous donor who paid for a profoundly deaf two-year-old to have a cochlear implant fitted. Her family invited me along when they turned the device on and she heard her mum tell her she loved her for the first time. It was so emotional, and such an incredible honour to be included in such a special moment.

6. What advice would you give your 20 year old self? I was still studying journalism at Bournemouth Uni when I was 20, and set on becoming a TV presenter, so I guess I would tell myself not to worry if things don’t turn out exactly as planned, and not to stress about the small stuff (something I’m still trying to do now!).

7. Where are you happiest? Anywhere when I’m with my family – whether that’s at home, snuggled up on the sofa with a movie; chilling on Southbourne beach or on a family holiday.

8. Who would be your number one dinner guest be and why? I think it would have to be my husband’s dad, who passed away before my husband and I met. I’ve heard so many stories about him, it would be lovely to be able to meet him.

9. If you could have any superpower, what power would it be and why? Definitely teleportation! How amazing would it be to get to Hawaii instantaneously?!

10. If you had to ask us one question, what would it be? Where did the name Sunny Bird come from?

"It's the name of our MD!"

Journalist of the Month

Gemma Ralph is the Deputy Editor at Hospitality Interiors magazine. A self-confessed foodie, fairy light fiend and lover of all things cosy, she has taken a few moments away from glam interiors to ask the infamous Sunny Bird PR questions for Journalist of the Month…

1. What are the 5 words that best describe you? Perceptive, odd, bookworm, nosy, romantic

2. What magazine do you love reading and why? Women’s Health – I sit and read it cover to cover every month because it has so many in-depth and inspiring articles.

3. What is your favourite book?  This question is my nemesis, I LOVE all books. I’d have to say Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf as she is my absolute hero, but if I could sneak a cheeky close second in it would be Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts.

4. Which song makes you dance?  Any song that comes on when I’m 5+ drinks down…I’m definitely not a natural when it comes to dancing!

5. What has been your best career moment?  I count myself lucky any time I get a sneak peak of new interiors, sometimes when they’re still building sites. A highlight would definitely be touring Mondrian London with Tom Dixon and hearing all about his inspiration and vision for the project – I’m so privileged to be part of such an interesting and creative industry.

6. What advice would you give your 20 year old self? Don’t devote so much of your headspace to other people and their opinions of you.

7. Where are you happiest?  Probably when I’m in a restaurant with good food and drink.

8. Who would be your number one dinner guest be and why? I’d say Bill Murray – he’s immensely talented, doesn’t seem to take himself too seriously, and I think he would have some epic stories to tell … also I might have a slight dad-crush on him!

9. If you could have any superpower, what power would it be and why?   I think I would choose the ability to time travel – I’ve always felt like I was born in the wrong era, so I’d love to travel back in time to experience different periods and historical events.

10. If you had to ask us one question what would it be? What would you say is the most rewarding element of your work?

The team all had the same answer – seeing the coverage they’ve achieved come out in publications and online – our favourite was of course in Hospitality Interiors!

 

Journalist of the Month

Jenny Cross is managing director for Niche Magazine, a luxury lifestyle magazine that’s distributed in the East Midlands. She kindly took a moment to answer our journalist of the month questions and gave us a cracking question back in return (see question number 10).

1. What are the 5 words that best describe you? Outgoing, fun, caring, kind and energetic

2. What magazine do you love reading and why? Niche Magazine because it’s a positive read and all about the Leicester Business Community

3. What is your favourite book?  Start with Why - Simon Sinek

4. Which song makes you dance?  You can call me Al - Paul Simon

5. What has been your best career moment?  Organising the Niche Business Awards and seeing local business professionals recognised for their success (https://vimeo.com/183282657)

6. What advice would you give your 20 year old self? Not everyone is your friend

7. Where are you happiest?  When I am with my kids

8. Who would be your number one dinner guest be and why? (they can be past and present?)  Princess Diana - She was a true inspiration and she always put others first

9. If you could have any superpower, what power would it be and why?   To fly so that I could escape the world now and then and have some peace

10. If you had to ask us one question what would it be? What drives you?

Getting amazing coverage for our clients always spurs us on, as does the promise of a gin cocktail on a Friday afternoon.

 

Journalist of the Month

Chichi was a features writer for House of Coco and has now moved into freelance work. Chichi also works around the clock as a fashion, beauty and lifestyle blogger, she has stepped away from wardrobe and make up long enough to answer the infamous Sunny Bird PR questions!

1. What are the 5 words that best describe you? Ambitious, kind, hardworking, diligent and passionate.

2. What magazine do you love reading and why? To be honest I read a variety of fashion, beauty, lifestyle and travel magazines so I don't have a favourite.

3. What is your favourite book? I just started reading 'I'll never write my memoirs' by Grace Jones and I am enjoying it!

4. Which song makes you dance? I don't dance.

5. What has been your best career moment? I have a few:

- Writing for House of Coco

- Working as a brand ambassador for NYX Cosmetics

- Interning at a top PR agency in Leeds

6. What advice would you give your 20 year old self? Be yourself and distance yourself from those who don't respect that.

7. Where are you happiest? When I am socialising with my friends.

8. Who would be your number one dinner guest be and why? (they can be past and present?) Michelle Obama, because she is such an inspiration to black women.

9. If you could have any superpower, what power would it be and why? I'd love to be invisible.

10. If you had to ask us one question what would it be? Describe yourself in one word.

Kickass!

How to... Contact a Journalist

A good relationship with the press is absolutely key for PR, without this your story will never see the light of day but how do you cultivate one of these elusive, sacred relationships? Journalists are absolutely inundated every day by 100s of emails, calls (mobile and office), direct tweets, old fashioned post and people turning up at their offices armed with product for them to try. On top of this barrage of communication on all fronts, journalists still need time to research and write their articles. So how do we get through all this noise and make ourselves heard without becoming a nuisance and being ‘ghosted’?

1. Journalists are human too

- Don’t send them blanket emails, don’t just BCC your pitch out with a generic ‘Hi’ or ‘Good Morning’ as it will end up unopened in the trash – they’ll know that you’ve sent it out to the world and its dog

- Take the time to read their articles before sending them information on your product/brand/service/story to ensure that it is suitable and refer back to one of their articles so they know that you’ve bothered to do your research

2. The early pitch catches the coverage

- Email journalists earlier in the week and in the morning because fewer journalists work on the weekend and your email should appear in their inboxes when they’re planning out their work for the week

3. Know Thy Journalist

- Going back to ‘journalists are human’, they all have their own preferred style or method of communication. Some will never respond to emails, others will only reply to emails and never take calls, some like that personal touch and can spare five minutes for you to see them face to face, others use twitter to get their stories. Unfortunately there’s no shortcut to this – you just have to learn and remember. We make a point of finding out from our journalists and here’s a peek at some of their bugbears and preferences...

We’ve spent years cultivating our relationships with journalists and have worked hard to make sure that we know them well enough to pitch the right stories to them at the right time with the assets they like best. This has paid off, not only do we get stories placed in the most coveted titles but they even like us! You can see what some journalists say about Sunny Bird PR here... https://www.sunnybirdpr.com/testimonials/

4. Keep your eyes peeled

- If a journalist says they’re going to run with your story, politely ask for an expected date so you can keep an eye out for your coverage – no one wants to go through steps 1-3 and then miss the coverage after all that hard work!

- If it’s a hard copy, make sure you get a copy when it does come out, hell, get two or three copies

- If it’s online, save it down so you always have a copy in case they take it down in the future

- Share it far and wide on all your social platforms – make sure it’s well presented if it’s a scan or an accessible link if it’s online

5. Remember your manners

- Say thank you!

- Send a handwritten, personalised card and some chocolate (that’s what we do) to the lovely journalist that featured you – if you keep them sweet they might even feature you again :) 

We hope this blog post has been useful and will fill you with confidence next time you’re approaching the press. We appreciate that it’s incredibly time intensive and there’s no short cut to creating these relationships. If you would like to get your story into the press but don’t have that much time on your hands feel free to give us a call on 01202 293095 or drop us a line at hello@sunnybirdpr.com.