Jessica Barrett is a freelance journalist who has written for the Vancouver Sun, BC Business, Vancouver Courier and many other publications.
What do you love most about your job(s)?
As a freelancer I love being able to specialize in topics I'm passionate about exploring: namely the economy, affordability, the changing way we work and the different generational perspectives on those things. I get to meet amazing people and really delve into the human experience from all angles. I also like that I can set my own schedule and often I'm offered work in new areas I wouldn't have thought to explore.
When is the best time to pitch you?
Early in the week. Things tend to snowball as the days go on.
What do you look for in a story?
An actual story with a human face. If something is happening that affects real people in their daily lives, I'll be interested. Veiled marketing material is easily identifiable and most definitely not a story.
What is the easiest way for a PR professional to turn you off?
When it's clear they don't follow what I do and what I cover. I'm also likely to ignore formulaic press releases and generic emails.
What's your average day like?
All over the map. As a freelancer I'm usually balancing about five projects at once. I might be onsite doing interviews, or doing a contract. I might be at home or in a coffee shop writing, editing or researching a pitch. I might be collaborating on a passion project with a colleague. I tend to work whenever and wherever it needs to happen, often in short bursts of two or three hours at a time. I'm always on the go and rely on my phone to keep tabs on everything.
What's your favourite social network and why?
Facebook. I know it's old fashioned now, but it's a good place to contact potential sources and find out what people are talking about. I like that you can get more context there than on Twitter.
Who is your journalist/writer crush?
I've always liked Stephanie Nolen's work for the Globe and Mail and, locally, Frances Bula has, and continues to be, a mentor for me. Postmedia columnists Andrew Coyne and Michael Den Tandt are also top of their game. The CBC's Adrienne Arsenault teases out some unbelievably touching stories from the world's hot spots.
iOs or Android?
You can reach Jessica at Jessica.Barrett@gmail.com