As part of our new ‘Meet the journalist’ series, we caught up with Lynda Hamilton Parker, publishing editor of Holistic Scotland Magazine recently to talk all things journalism and PR – how coming from a PR background impacts her role as an editor and what it’s like being a start-up publication today.
Let’s see what she had to say…
What do you read and where do you get your news (not your own)?
“I get my news from The Courier and SBNN, and really enjoy reading Natural Health Magazine and Green Parenting too.”
What are your career highlights?
“The highlights of my career have to be when I was travel writing. I didn’t really make any money out of it but I got to see some amazing parts of the world! I absolutely loved my time in Japan and would move there in a heartbeat if I could.
“Other memorable travel commissions involved husky sledding in Finland and extreme white water floating in a Buzz Lightyear-type suit. But I’m hoping the best is yet to come!”
Best advice you have ever been given?
“I can’t think of any one thing but I owe my career to an amazing couple of editors who taught me (almost) everything I know.”
What makes a good PR/journalist relationship?
“I think it helps to first of all recognise that we need each other. Journalists need PR people and vice versa. The two industries are so very closely intertwined. And everyone is human at the end of the day. If both parties can help to make each other’s’ lives easier at the end of the day, then it’s a win-win.”
What is the best pitch you have ever received? and the worst?
“Best pitch? I think I’ve yet to receive it. Worst? I couldn’t possibly judge – there are too many to mention!”
What challenges do journalists face today?
“It’s really tough for journalists because they get a bad press, if you’ll pardon the pun. And they are so stretched it’s unreal. Very few have time for real investigative journalism anymore because there just isn’t the budget to support it. Something needs to change. It’s an industry and talent that no one seems willing to pay for anymore.
“With so much content readily available online and everyone thinking they are a writer, print publications are really struggling. But don’t let anyone tell you that print is dead. The reality is far from it. And digital has its downsides. Businesses need to employ traditional and non-traditional marketing to thrive in the long run. Digital will have its day but it can only be truly successful when used in tandem with other forms of marketing such as traditional PR and print advertising.”
How do you prefer PRs to pitch to Holistic Scotland? (e.g. Email/phone/in person/Twitter)
“Definitely by email. If I take a phone call, I’ll just ask the caller to confirm/relay the info in an email anyway.
“I don’t work the traditional 9 to 5 so the chances are I’ll be too busy knee-deep in dirty nappies to take the call. My dad always jokes about how ironic it is not to be able to get a communications professional on the phone!”
What stories / angles are you looking for?
“Perhaps someone who has turned their life around or ditched a high-flying job to do something more holistic. Disruptive businesses who are really bucking the trend and making real differences to our community and planet also make great case studies and deserve to be profiled.
“Likewise, someone who has developed something really innovative and isn’t afraid to challenge the status quo. I’m particularly interested in emotional wellbeing, as well as biodiversity, nature and conservation. Ethical businesses, including ethical fashion, really float my boat too, as well as adventure travel and sustainable and social initiatives.”
What was the inspiration behind the new publication?
“I’m going to be 40 this year and, since it’s something I’ve always wanted to do, thought I’d make this my birthday present to myself. I’m passionate about everything the magazine is going to cover so it seems like a natural fit. Who wants to write about tax when they can write about glamping?!! The first issue will launch a week before my 40th birthday in April.”
Coming from a PR background how does this impact your journalist role?
“I’d like to think it makes me a good all-rounder and gives me a better understanding of the communications industry as a whole. My experience lies in both equally I suppose and both have given me the chance to be creative. Ultimately, I love to write and I hope to do more of that – particularly on the subjects that matter most to me and Holistic Scotland Magazine readers.”