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Freelance Journalist Interview with Julie McCaffrey

Julie McCaffrey

Shakin' Stevens hated me and broke my heart, but meeting Mr Tumble was the interview that left me star-stuck.

About your journalism

What do you write about?

I specialise in celebrity interviews and real life stories and can't decide which I love more. It's hugely exciting having an insight into a celeb, but it's the moving and humbling real life stories that really stay with me.

Where are we likely to see your work?

National newspapers such as the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror and Daily Mail, as well as magazines such as Now, Fabulous, Woman, Woman's Own, Bella, Take A Break and Chat.

What's the most memorable work you've done?

The stories I remember most are real lives – the mother who wrote beautifully moving letters to her stillborn baby, a mum whose husband killed both their sons but counselled herself through her heartache and went on to marry again and have three children, and another mum whose eldest son was the 100th soldier killed in Afghanistan; her youngest son has recently become a Paratrooper.

I've spent a week in Camp Bastion and was the first journalist allowed to report from the field hospital, had a one-to-one in a greasy spoon cafe with Gordon Brown, cycled with David Cameron and interviewed Sharon Osbourne in her amazing house in LA where Ozzy left me hysterical with laughter. Shakin' Stevens hated me and broke my heart, but meeting my triplet girls' hero Justin Fletcher aka Mr Tumble was the interview that left me star-stuck. You can see them on my website at www.juliemccaffrey.com/portfolio.

What interview or feature would you love the chance to do?

I love writing colourful behind-the-scenes pieces and would love exclusive access to somewhere like The Priory to find out what really goes on there and hear the moving stories of the patients.

I'd scream if I was ever offered an interview with Daniel Craig for, err, personal as well as professional reasons!

About you and PRs

Where do you source ideas for articles?

The daily news mainly, but PRs are a rich source of stories as they have a wide range of case studies and often exclusive access to celebrities.

How can PRs be useful to you?

I work really closely with PRs, especially from the charity and health sector. They have a huge wealth of stories and I enjoy being able to successfully pitch and write them.

How and when do you like them to get in touch?

I have triplet toddlers so sometimes it's hard to hear my own phone. Email is usually best via julie@juliemccaffrey.com or tweet me @juliemccaffrey.

Do you find press conferences, trips, parties and other events useful or an interruption?

I tend not to go to press conferences as I work on exclusive interviews and don't do pack reporting. Parties are great for networking and trips are fabulous!

If you could make one change to the way PRs deal with you, what would it be?

I honestly understand how difficult is it to find time, but I would love if PRs knew a bit about my work before they approached. That way neither of us would waste time and we could work together pitching some great exclusives to the nationals.                                     

About you:

Do you tweet? Why, why not?

I do @juliemccaffrey. I wish I was better at Twitter, but so far I've found Twitter invaluable for stories and contacts.

What books are on your bedside table, magazines in your bag, or blogs on your screen?

'Fifty Shades of Grey' has been there for weeks but I doubt I'll finish it – I can't bear the clunky writing! I loved 'Wonder' by A.J. Palacio. My bag bursts with magazines including Grazia, Now and Fabulous. I need to get better at blogging and following but I always look at fleetstreetfox.com.