Journalist of Month

Caroline Lindsay is a features writer on The Courier newspaper, the second best-selling regional newspaper in the UK, as well as the daily papers for the Tayside region, Angus, Fife and Perthshire. Caroline is also editor of The Courier’s weekly food and drink supplement The Menu, which won best Scottish Supplement of the Year 2018/19 at the Scottish PPA Awards in Glasgow.

Caroline took some time out from her busy schedule to answer the notorious SBPR questions. Here’s what Caroline had to say…

What are the 5 words that best describe you?

Friendly, thoughtful, inquisitive (nosy!), diligent and spendthrift.

What magazine do you love reading and why?

Country Living because I’d love to have a cottage in the country, or by the sea, one day.

 What is your favourite book?

In a Good Light by Clare Chambers. It’s about a brother and sister who grew up in a rambling old house, their challenges as adults and resurfacing memories.

 Which song makes you dance?

I’m a self-conscious dancer but when I broke my arm a few years ago I did my physio exercises at home to Martin Solveig’s and Dragonette’s hit Hello. Very naff but it took my mind off the pain!

 What has been your best career moment?

When The Menu won Best Scottish Supplement of the Year at the Scottish Regional Press Awards.

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

Look the world in the eye and be proud of yourself. Oh and that purple eye shadow isn’t a good look and no one’s fooled by those freckles you’ve added with an eyebrow pencil.

Where are you happiest?

At a beach on the Orkney islands with my family and border collie Bramble.

 Who would be your number one dinner guest and why?

Miranda Hart – she’d be funny and appreciative.

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

It’s not quite a superpower but I wouldn’t mind being as fit as Milla Jovovich in the Resident Evil movies. She’s my girl crush.

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

Why is your agency called Sunny Bird?

We get asked this one a lot! It’s because Sunny Bird is the name of our fabulous founder and managing director.

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Journalist of the Month

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Rachel Tompkins is a freelance writer, journalist and editor with more than 14 years’ experience working for national magazines, newspapers, websites and apps. Rachel began her career as a writer for Take a Break magazine before going on to work on the launch of Pick Me Up Magazine in 2005. Debuting with a readership of half a million, it was the most successful magazine launch of the decade and won the BSME launch of the year. Today Rachel works as a freelancer feature writer for the national press and has taken time away from her busy deadline schedule to answer the notorious Sunny Bird PR questions.  

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

That would depend who you asked! Colleagues have previously called me a terrier - because of my tenacity when chasing a story. I'm conscientious and a worrier, which means I feel an immense sense of responsibility when being trusted with someone's story. I'd like to think that my friends and family would describe me as kind and funny too.

2.            What magazine do you love reading and why?

Take a Break will always have a special place in my heart because it's where my journalism career started when I left City University. The same goes for Chat and Pick Me Up because I worked on the launch of Pick Me Up and was the Features Director of both titles before going freelance. I love their clever headlines and eye for a great story.  When I'm relaxing, I love Top Santé for some health and fitness inspiration and Guardian Weekend for thought-provoking longer reads.

3.            What is your favourite book? 

Through The Wall by Caroline Corcoran. It's out on October 17th but I was lucky enough to get a preview press copy and I literally can't put it down. It's dark women's fiction, or a psychological thriller, which is extremely relatable to me on so many levels. 

4.            Which song makes you dance?

Don't Stop Believin' by Journey, I first heard it in a piano bar in San Francisco on my honeymoon and it's become the anthem for so many nights out.

5.            What has been your best career moment? 

Getting my first job for Britain's top selling magazine felt pretty incredible at the time. Back then Take a Break sold well over 1million copies a week and I went on to learn so much there. Since becoming freelance there have been many little moments when I stop and pinch myself, for example a recent article I wrote for The Guardian Weekend about women without children. It took a lot of work to pull together and it was very moving and insightful to speak to some of the women involved. I was really proud of the end result. 

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

Believe in yourself and worry less. 

7.            Where are you happiest? 

At home in Oxfordshire with my family. After living in London for about fifteen years I cried the day we left. London will always hold so many fond memories, both with my career and also family and friends, but I've made a home in Oxfordshire now and I love our life here but also the fact that I can get the train into town in less than hour so I still feel connected.

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

Can I be cheeky and say two - Prince Harry and Meghan! They intrigue me so much, I would just love to know what goes on behind closed doors with those two!

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

To be able to fly, very quickly! That way I could whizz over and see my sister (who lives the other side of London) in seconds and catch up with friends who live far away without having to waste time getting there and back. Many of my good friends have migrated out of London like me now and one of the things I miss about living there is being able to hop on the tube and meet up with them easily. 

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

What's the most unusual campaign or client you've worked on? 

We pride ourselves on being a creative agency and thinking outside the box to get results for our clients. Here are a few of our favourite unusual campaigns we’ve worked on…

Three Pregnant Dads

Our client The Book of Everyone came to us with the objective of launching its latest bespoke book; a personalised gift for Mother’s Day called ‘The Book of Mum’. To ensure the brand wouldn’t get lost amongst the Mother’s Day gifts already on the market, we needed to really grab the media’s in the run up to Mother’s Day – the concept of ‘The 3 Pregnant Dads’ was born. The company directors, themselves three middle-ages dads, wore “Empathy bellies” that weighed 33lbs/15kg for the duration of the month. This included; when attending client meetings, using public transport and even when heading to the pub! Everything was filmed and documented and shared with the media. The campaign secured 383 pieces of national and international coverage across 38 countries within a 3-week period. ‘The 3 Pregnant Dads’ were featured across all national titles and TV, including Lorraine Kelly, This Morning, Good Morning Britain, The Daily Mail, The Telegraph, Huffington Post and Times Magazine US amongst many others. Our 3 Pregnant Dad’s campaign led to a 2,765%, increase in sales, 2,000 shares on one Daily Mail article alone as well as a 1,850% increase in Facebook social media engagement.

Snoring Ruining the Nation’s Sex Life

In order to increase brand awareness and boost sales for our client Good Night Anti Snoring Ring we created a headline grabbing campaign. In order to secure column inches we set out to prove that the nation’s sex lives were suffering due to their partner’s snoring problems. We commissioned a survey that looked into the sex and love lives of our nation’s snorers. The survey revealed a whopping 30% of males admitted it took the spark out of their sex lives and 46.4 % of males felt embarrassed about their snoring.  One out of five males and females expressed that snoring put them off being intimate with their partner. To add a real life element we also worked with case-studies who were happy to speak to the press about how snoring affected their sex lives and relationships. On the back of our strategy we secured national PR coverage with the Daily Mail Online, The Daily Mail, The Sun, The Daily Telegraph and The Sunday Mirror. Other titles included; Woman and Home, Top Santé, Prima, Take a Break, Pick Me Up, Health & Fitness, Closer, Bella, Natural Health, Chat and DIVA magazine amongst others.

What Does Your Poo Say About You?

For our client, private healthcare provider Ramsay Health Care UK, we wanted to secure national coverage and generate web traffic around Bowel Cancer Awareness Month. We started with the headline we wanted to see in the newspaper itself ‘What does your poo say about you’ and then built a strong bank of assets to support it.

We created an exclusive infographic that detailed the signs of bowel cancer in stools that are often overlooked.  We then created and executed a survey to over 1,000 people asking them if they would recognise the symptoms of bowel cancer and if they would do anything about them. This enabled us to source attention-grabbing statistics to add to our press release. Finally, we rounded off our assets with an expert comment from a Ramsay Health Care UK Bowel Cancer specialist. We approached the Mail Online and offered them the exclusive story. This resulted in the Mail Online running the piece in advance of Bowel Cancer Awareness Month. Once this was secured, we then rolled it out to further online titles, which resulted in the Express Online, Metro, Good Housekeeping, the Sun Online, The Irish Sun and The Scottish Sun. Not only did this boost the awareness of Ramsay Health Care UK within the national newspapers, but it boosted the website traffic by 208%.

Journo of the Month

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Our journalist of the month this month is the fantastic Thomas Swallow. Thomas is the Style and Grooming writer for The Gay UK and has a passion for grooming, fitness and fashion. He’s also the guy behind @urbanmaleuk. Here, he answers the notorious Sunny Bird PR questions…

 

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

Determined, enthusiastic, sassy, confident and well-groomed (I’m counting it as one word 😂)

2.       What magazine do you love reading and why?

My favourite magazine to read is GQ. I think it’s the only male magazine that features all the things I’m passionate about but holds the side of misogyny. As a gay man I can still like fitness, grooming and fashion, without it all being geared to getting laid. You know what I mean? 

3.       What is your favourite book?

Sounds cliché but it will always be “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee. Read it in secondary school like most of the UK and completely fell in love with the book. I think it’s such an important literary piece that defines the injustice present within the world.

4.       Which song makes you dance?

Avicii: Wake Me Up

5.       What has been your best career moment?

Getting published for the first time and seeing my name in print. Pretty sure I cried on the phone telling my parents. Yes, I am indeed a sap!

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

Well I was at university in Newcastle, so it would probably be to invest in better fake tan. You know, orange just ain’t a look! In all honesty I’d probably just have told myself to relax more. I used to spend so much time at uni thinking of what everyone thought of me, me being gay and my appearance. The thing is there was nothing wrong with any of it and as soon as I realised that, I just became so much more of a fun-loving and confident guy.

7.       Where are you happiest?

Sweden! I went on an exchange at university there for half a year and I just fell in love with the country. There’s just something about it that I find so relaxing. If I ever need to focus and get something done, I head there for a mini break. If you’ve never been, try it! Plus their summers are consistently in the mid 20s to 30s…. #JustSaying

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

I think it would be Jake Gyllenhaal and not just because I want to marry him, although if by some chance you’re reading this, yes, I am indeed single! I just found him such an inspirational role model growing up. He has such a liberal attitude to life and he was an English major at university, so we’d at least have a starting point to planning the wedding.

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

I would like to be able to speak any language in the world. Sounds a bizarre one but I love travelling and making connections while doing so. Some of my best friends live in other countries and I just wish they didn’t always have to speak English for me. Currently trying to learn Spanish… it’s not going well!

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

What do you consider the most enjoyable part of working in PR?

Sunny – For me it’s all about meeting inspiring new brands. We are lucky enough to be surrounded by creativity on a daily basis and creative people and I love being inspired by them.

Laura – No two days are the same in PR and I love the variety of stuff you work on. You become an expert in everything from business bartering software to the science behind snoring. You get such a breadth of knowledge working in PR – it’s great for pub quizzes!

Georgie – I love how creative we get to be in PR. Every day we are given opportunities to stretch our creative muscles, whether it’s coming up with a new angle to get our clients in press or whether it’s putting yourself into the customer’s shoes to write up a press release.

Jess – Every day is different, one day you might be working on pitching a cool new product to journalists and the next you might be hosting an event for a client. You never know where the next week is going to take you, so it certainly keeps you on your toes!

Elizabeth – The most enjoyable part of PR is that it’s all about communication and I love communicating! Whether that’s through words, graphics, events, social media, websites, radio, TV, interviews, interpretative dance, etc etc, each opportunity to connect presents a new challenge and a chance to shine!

Rachael – I love that PR is part of the media industry, so we keep up to date on what’s going on in the world and the news, not only for our clients but generally in the media too. I love spending time researching what journalists are talking about.

Journalist of the month!

Lucy Gornall

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This month we asked award-winning journalist and fitness guru Lucy Gornall the notorious Sunny Bird PR questions. Lucy is the Health and Fitness Editor across TI Media’s weekly women’s magazines along with the monthly titles Fit & Well and Woman & Home. When she’s not commissioning features and writing copy Lucy can be found at a 6am HITT session or planning her next exotic adventure. Here’s what Lucy had to say…

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

Organised, impatient, stubborn, happy, determined.

2. What magazine do you love reading and why?

Aside from the ones I work on…Men’s Health. I love the workouts. 

3. What is your favourite book?

Any atlas.

4. Which song makes you dance?

Avicii – Levels.

5. What has been your best career moment?

The day I went from an intern to a writer and was given my first job.

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

DO NOT worry about what other people think. Don’t follow crowds if you don’t agree with them and always do your best in everything. Don’t ever settle.

7. Where are you happiest?

On a beach, somewhere hot, with no cares, a cocktail and good friends. 

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

Victoria Beckham. I worship the ground she walks on!

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

To know what goes on in men’s heads.

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

 What’s the most annoying thing about journalists?

“We rely on journalists to achieve great things for our clients so it’s essential for us to have good relationships with them. With cuts in publishing houses and newsrooms nationwide, we know journalists are more pushed for time than ever before and that’s why, as a PR agency, we try to make their lives as easy as possible and never get annoyed as we appreciate how much pressure they are all under!”

Journalist of the Month!

Laura Hampson with her Journalist of the Year prize at the London Venus Awards

Laura Hampson with her Journalist of the Year prize at the London Venus Awards

Laura Hampson is a Digital Lifestyle Writer at the London Evening Standard and covers travel, health and fitness, food, drink and design. She was also the 2018 winner of the London Venus Award for Journalist of the Year!  Laura took some time out of her award-winning career to answer the notorious Sunny Bird PR questions… 

What are the 5 words that best describe you?

I asked my best friend and she said: “Curious, enthusiastic, kind, loyal and brave.”

What magazine do you love reading and why?

Evening Standard magazine, of course. As they always have interesting features and profiles. Other than that, I love Stylist as they always hit the mark.

What is your favourite book?

The two books I always go back to are Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen and Where Rainbows End by Cecelia Ahern, two books I read when I was a teenager that have stuck with me and that I could read over and over. I am currently reading Michelle Obama’s memoir ‘Becoming’ which is also an excellent read.

Which song makes you dance?

Sorry by Justin Bieber. I attempted to learn the dance from the music video a few years back so now crack out a terrible version of it whenever it comes on.

What has been your best career moment?

Winning Journalist of the Year at the Venus Awards, I definitely didn’t expect it, but it was such a thrill to hear my name called.

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

Don’t be afraid to speak up more, your opinion matters.

Where are you happiest?

At home, cooking dinner with my boyfriend or whenever I get a chance to go back to New Zealand to visit my family.

Who would be your number one dinner guest and why?

Kate Sheppard, basically New Zealand’s answer to Emmeline Pankhurst. She pioneered the women’s suffrage movement in New Zealand and helped NZ become the first self-governing country in the world to give women the vote in parliamentary elections in 1893. I would like to say ‘thank you’.  If it has to be a living guest, then Jacinda Ardern, NZ’s current Prime Minister. She just seems cool.

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

Teleportation. 100%. Then I could go see my family after work every night instead of having to fly 24+ hours and halfway across the world just to say hello in person. Oh, and it would make commuting a breeze.

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

What country is at the top of your bucket list to visit and why?

Last month we answered where’s next on our travel bucket list, so this month we’ll tell you all about our number one dream destination to visit…

Georgie: “Mine would definitely be a tour to see wild mountain gorillas. I saw wild Bornean Orangutans in 2016 and it was an incredible experience, so gorillas are next!”

Alex: “I would want to travel around South America, I really want to see the Chilean marble caves and Bolivian salt flats.”

Jess: “I would go to the floating pizza and champagne bar in the middle of the ocean in Fiji – all my favourite things!”

Lu: “I would travel around Australia, New Zealand and Bali because I love the heat and I want to see beautiful sights. I would definitely do a sky dive too!”

Laura: “I would go to Mexico so I can eat nachos all day long…”

Rachael: “My number one would be Bali, mainly because of the weather and the beautiful scenery. Plus, you can indulge yourself in ultimate luxury on a budget and the food is colourful and healthy.”

Lizzie: “I’ve heard there’s a cat island in Japan…”

Journalist of the Month

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Melanie Giandzi is an official Food Tester at the Good Housekeeping Institute. Lucky Melanie spends her days taste testing the latest food and drink products from the coolest brands and penning copy for the title. Here, Melanie has taken a break from sampling the wares and compiling product round-ups to answer the notorious SBPR questions:

1. What are the 5 words that best describe you? Cheeky, caring, motivated, funny and personable.

2. What magazine do you love reading and why? I love reading all the grocer’s own in-house magazines as I love knowing what new products they are getting in and learning about what’s in season.

3. What is your favourite book? Can I say Harry Potter 1-7? 😉

4. Which song makes you dance? Tom Misch – Beautiful Escape.

5. What has been your best career moment? Deciding to change from the beauty world into food – a passion which always fills my mind.

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

7. Where are you happiest? Having a picnic with my partner Cam at Primrose Hill.

8. Who would be your number one dinner guest and why? Frank Sinatra – I’d cook him a delicious meal in exchange for a serenade.

9. If you could have any superpower, what power would it be and why? Teleportation for sure, all my family is back home in Australia, so it would come in handy for sure.

10. If you had to ask us one question what would it be? What is your proudest moment at Sunny Bird PR?

As a team, there is a lot we’re proud of so this one took some thinking! Here are the team’s proudest achievements to date:

Lizzie: Creating Bournemouth’s Biggest Ever Street Art for a client – a giant Spiderman painted on Pier Approach which achieved 20 pieces of coverage in just two days with a reach of over four million people and exposure on TV, radio, online and in print.

Georgie: My first piece of coverage for Sunny Bird PR which was in the Telegraph - I loved winning the PR tiara and Prosecco for the piece too!

Laura: Securing 90 VIP guests to a restaurant launch in just one week and achieving 10 pieces of coverage off the back of the event.

Jess: Smashing our targets  and achieving more than 20 pieces of regional coverage for our client Ramsay Health Care UK in just one day.

Alex: Securing TV coverage on BBC Spotlight for one of our newest clients and even encouraging the presenters to get dressed up and take part in a cycling activity.

Sunny: My proudest moment to date has been hosting our PR & Publicity Reaching Millions courses which enables start-ups and SMEs, which don’t yet have the budget for PR, get their businesses of the ground!

Journalist of the Month

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In honour of our fabulous PR placement student, we’ve decided to do things a little differently this month and showcase a journalist from a student publication. Zlatna Nedev is the Fashion and Lifestyle Editor for Bournemouth University’s Nerve Magazine as well as a presenter for Nerve Radio. When she’s not busy with assignments and deadlines, she loves delving into New Philosopher magazine and dancing to Eminem’s new album. Here Zlatna answers the infamous Sunny Bird PR questions…

1.    What are the 5 words that best describe you?
Ambitious, open-minded, spontaneous, passionate and a little bit crazy.

2.    What magazine do you love reading and why?
I absolutely love magazines. My collection got so big that I had to get rid of half of them because I just didn’t have enough space. I know people prefer the digital alternatives now, but I just like the feel and smell of a brand-new magazine. I like to look around different shops and pick up magazines I’ve never seen before or special editions. If I had to choose a favourite it would be New Philosopher.

3.    What is your favourite book?
I’ve always liked Russian and English classic literature such as Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina and Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë. Sadly, I haven’t had much time to read since being at Uni.

4.    Which song makes you dance?
Right now I have Eminem’s new album on repeat.

5.    Tell us about your proudest moment.
For me it’s not about an exact moment, it’s more about the hard work and the decisions I’ve made to get where I am now. I’m proud for being brave enough to move from Bulgaria to England and do what I love.

6.    What’s your dream career?
Two years ago I would have said a magazine editor straight away. Now, I’m more open to not putting myself in one category. I love journalism and writing and talking about our society. In the past couple of years, I’ve fallen in love with radio, presenting live and connecting with the audience. I’m passionate about so many things, so I hope my future career will allow me to be creative and inspire people to question things.

7.    Where are you happiest?
Anywhere with my friends. I am lucky enough to be surrounded by positive, supportive, energetic and ambitious people so this is where I’m happiest.

8.    Who would be your number one dinner guest and why?
These questions are getting more and more difficult, aren’t they? There’s this Bulgarian actress, her name is Stoyanka Mutafova. She’s 96 years old and she’s still on stage working in theatrical plays every day. Her nickname is Ms Natural Disaster and she really is one!

9.    If you could have any superpower, what power would it be and why?
I want to make everyone appreciate each other’s differences.

10.  If you had to ask us one question what would it be?
What journalistic skills cross over into the PR industry?

There’s certainly a lot of the same skills required for both industries. Here’s what the SBPR team thought were most applicable:

·         Lizzie: Writing, interviewing and working to deadlines I think are the strongest transferable skills.

·         Georgie: Knowing what makes a good story.

·         Alex: Developing a thick skin!

·         Laura: Knowing what journalists are looking for when pitching to press.

·         Raluca: Content creation and storytelling.