From interviewing the tallest man in Europe to medieval re-enactments – the weird and wonderful world of journalism (part two)

Unusual assignments and quirky photo opportunities are all part and parcel of a career as a journalist.

Here at Bloomin’ Creative, both of us (Danielle and Colette) are former newspaper hacks who cut our teeth in print media.

Having solid journalism experience is something that’s really important to us at Bloomin’ Creative. We believe our combined years of newsroom experience gives us our dynamic USP as a full-service public relations and marketing agency in Cumbria.

Our copywriter, Colette, previously blogged about her experience as a journalist for one of the country’s biggest regional newspaper groups, before she moved into corporate PR and communications, working with brands such as IPC Magazines, Gower Publishing, McVities, KP Snacks and the Health and Safety Executive.

Dealing with high-pressure deadlines, difficult (and often upsetting) court cases and unravelling complex local political issues are all part of the job description as a journalist. However, what people might not expect are some of the weird and wonderful assignments we’ve both been handed by our editors over the years.

Colette’s most memorable experiences included climbing to the top of Nelson’s Column, flying to Paris in a private jet for lunch, drinking a pint in the Rovers Return and rubbing shoulders with George Michael (missed her blog? Have a read here).

In this blog, Bloomin’ Creative director Danielle takes us through her highlights as a hack.

“It wouldn’t take a genius to figure out why my editor thought I was the perfect reporter to go and interview Neil Fingleton. Standing at 7ft 7in (2.3m), Europe’s tallest man was in town for the Southport pantomime and they wanted an eye-catching photo for the feature.

“So, I donned my highest heels and backcombed my hair to within an inch of its life – all for that extra half inch on my barely 5ft stature. Throughout the interview, Neil and I chatted and posed for a rather comical series of photographs. We certainly had some funny looks from passers-by (must’ve been because he was dressed as a genie…) and I had a rather sore neck at the end of the interview, but it was all in the name of good ol’ panto fun and the pictures were definitely eye-catching!

“Another day, while munching on Hula Hoops and chugging diet coke, (the cornerstones of any journalist’s deadline day diet) another assignment landed on my lap. This time, to dress up as a knight and take part in a Medieval re-enactment. Again, it wouldn’t take a genius to figure out why this was going to be quite hilarious!

“Off I went, under strict instructions from the group leader of Historia Normannis not to wear high heels, nor worry about my hair, as I was going to be wearing a 55lb suit of armour and an enormous helmet. It gave a whole new meaning to ‘heavy metal’ when I put the on the outfit, but I soldiered on (literally) and did my best to slay a few of my medieval enemies while interviewing the members of the group.

“My next wacky assignment after that one smelt a little fishy as soon as I was told about it. Remember that beauty craze years ago when you’d sit with your feet in a bowl of Garra Rufa fish who would proceed to nibble the dead skin off your feet? Yep, I was one of the first people in the country to take the plunge with that one! 

“I’ve also interviewed celebrities aplenty (though none quite as impressive as George Michael and Ken Barlow), including The Script, David Gray, Sophie Kinsella, Baroness Shirley Williams, One Republic, Jason Manford, Chris Grayling, Jean Alexander, Craig Phillips, Kenneth Cope… and H from Steps!

“Day to day life as a reporter was great fun. I was the food and drink editor which meant I had to review a new restaurant every week and was invited to be wined and dined whenever a new spot in town opened – I know, life is hard sometimes!

“As well as general news reporting, I also wrote a weekly nostalgia column about all different aspects of local history. But better yet, every December I was in charge of the Festive Pets competition – so my main task each week literally was to gather pictures of various pets dressed up as Santa #LivingTheDream”

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