Meet the journalist… Cate Devine
Having worked for a range of publications – including 19 years at The Herald – before setting out as a freelance journalist, Cate Devine has garnered an extensive range of experiences throughout her career.
With a career in journalism that began with her first job in the French to Europe department of the BBC World Service in London, over time Cate developed a strong interest in the food and drink scene that has defined her writing ever since.
We caught up with Cate to talk about her career in journalism, what inspired her love of food and drink and, of course, her ideal PR/journalist relationship.
What do you read and where do you get your news?
“Twitter, Instagram, the BBC and Guardian websites, plus at least two Scottish print newspapers per day for more specific Scottish news (call me a dinosaur!). It’s important to support Scottish journalism.”
Did you always know you wanted to be a journalist?
“I got into it so early that I didn’t really think about it! I was lucky to be recruited to the BBC World Service in London just before I graduated from Glasgow University, and it continued from there.”
What have been your career highlights?
“Becoming deputy editor of Scottish Field, then being headhunted by DC Thomson to be the first women’s editor of the Sunday Post in Glasgow (this was unprecedented as I was recruited from the ‘outside’, rather than from their own staff as was the tradition).
“These experiences led to me being offered the post of editor of the Herald Saturday Magazine a year after I joined the paper as a feature writer. I then became Features Editor before returning to my first love, writing.”
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
“Never fall out with anyone on your way up – you never know who you’ll need on the way down!”
What’s the most memorable story you’ve worked on?
“Interviewing the mother of one of the Dunblane shooting victims for the Scottish Sunday Express.”
What sparked your love of food and drink? Has it always been the main focus of your writing?
“I spent a year teaching in France as part of my degree course, and the exposure to the food culture there was hugely influential on me. I still have the recipe book given to me by one of the staff I was most friendly with. Commissioning and editing food content also boosted my interest. I reckon food is one of the most increasingly important subjects, on so many levels.”
What’s the best meal you’ve ever had?
“The late Andrew Fairlie’s home-smoked Scottish lobster with a glass of Krug champagne in a marquee at his Victorian walled kitchen garden near Gleneagles.”
Where is your favourite place to eat?
“At the moment, it’s Jeremy Lee’s Quo Vadis in Soho, London.”
Advantages of a good journalist / PR relationship?
“Exclusives! And good gossip!”
Worst habit of a PR?
“Putting out good stories on social media.”
How do you prefer PRs get in touch with you?
“Email and in person. There’s nothing to beat the occasional coffee together.”
What advice would you give to new entrants into journalism?
“Try to find a subject you like and develop it.”
What are some of the challenges of working as a freelance journalist?
“Getting paid! Too many digital platforms expect that using your material for nothing is the norm, in exchange for a by-line. And print outlets pay less and less as freelance budgets continue to be cut.”
What stories or angles are you looking for?
“Exclusives. What can I say!”
Outside of work, what do you get up to?
“I enjoy cultivating my (new) allotment, cooking, writing, reading cookbooks and being part of a walking group. I also enjoy travelling in France and the rest of Europe.”
Would you like to work with an agency that knows exactly what journalists like Cate are looking for? Get in touch with us today, we’d love to craft powerful stories for you!