People are always at the heart of any story for Jenny Morrison. As feature writer for the Scottish Daily Record and the Sunday Mail, she knows how to seek out the remarkable stories waiting to be unearthed in everyday life.
For the latest in our Meet the Journalist… blog series, we spoke to Jenny about the best story she’s worked on, her idea of a perfect journalist-PR relationship and the challenges facing journalists today.
What do you read and where do you get your news?
“Not perhaps the most surprising answer from a journalist, but I love newspapers, both the print editions and online. I’m constantly checking newspaper websites and keep a close eye on the BBC News site.
“Even when I jump in my car it’s most likely to be a news channel on my radio, and I can’t put my telly on without having a quick click to see what is happening on Sky News.”
Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?
“Yes. My uncle was a journalist. When I was a little girl, I remember thinking he had the most glamorous job in the world.
“At the time he was a sports writer and I must have been about six years old when I bumped into him as he was dashing into the NB Hotel on Princes Street one evening to attend a rugby dinner. He was dressed in a tuxedo at a time when no one really wore such outfits (at least not in my world).
“He looked so dashing I decided then and there I wanted to do whatever it was he did. I started sending in ‘stories’ to the Junior News section of the Evening News and was hooked.”
“Nothing beats getting your first by-line in print.”
What’s the best advice you have ever been given?
“Really listen when you are interviewing someone – and do your homework in advance.”
What’s the best story you’ve worked on?
“I’ve been lucky to work on so many amazing stories. One of the things I’m most proud of is my involvement in the Breast Cancer Care Scotland Fashion Show. The Sunday Mail is the show’s media partner and for the last nine years I’ve had the honour of getting to know and tell the stories of all the amazing models who have taken part.
“These women – and men – have all had a breast cancer diagnosis and are just so inspiring. And they all look SO amazing as they dance down the catwalk.”
What are some advantages of a good journalist / PR relationship?
“I’m always on the lookout for good tales that I can turn into a nice double page spread feature and rely hugely on story ideas from PRs. A PR who really understands what a journalist is looking for is worth their weight in gold – but the journalist has to understand too that a PR has a client they need to keep happy.
“Getting the balance right should be easy. I’m happy to be inundated with ideas, and I’ll always try to let a PR know quickly if a tale is not for me.”
Worst habit of a PR?
“Blanket emails. Pretty much everything I’m looking for needs to be offered exclusively.”
How do you prefer PRs get in touch with you?
What challenges do journalists face today?
“Where do I start? There are so many challenges – from shrinking news rooms, to decreasing print sales, to making news platforms commercially viable. Journalists have been having a tough time for what feels like a very long time now, but there will always be a need for good journalists.”
What stories or angles are you looking for?
“I’m all about people. I love writing strong human-interest stories about often very ordinary, everyday people who have been through extraordinary things. I like quirk, fashion, interesting events and exhibitions and show-biz too.”
Outside of work, what do you get up to?
“My perfect day probably involves a cheeky wee Parkrun, walking my dog, watching football (either my sons playing or my favourite team), then chilling with friends and family with a glass of prosecco or two.”
Fancy working with an agency that knows exactly what journalists are looking for? Get in touch with us today, we’d love to help you find the solutions to your challenges!