About Jess Thompson

Writer, teacher, brand consultant, mum.

And So To Bed

IMG_5727 At the end of March 2015 I began a quest to find out whether I could retrain as a journalist; at the age of almost 50 and with full-time family responsibilities meaning I’m pretty much confined to Dorset.

Here’s what I’ve found out. Continue reading


Fish and Tips


Photo by E S Salmon Leather

My last fab interviewee was formerly a BBC producer – a long career that’s made her an expert in fields as diverse as fishing, comedy, history and music.

After making the classic move to the country in order to find a more alternative lifestyle, she entered the world of magazine publishing as an editorial assistant and six months later was offered the editor’s role.

She has a wealth of information and advice, much of which she’s been kind enough to share here. Although, whilst she does indeed know the answers, you’ll have to look elsewhere to find out just how you make a bikini out of fish skins.

Continue reading

No Contacts? No Problem!

Unknown-1And so, as I near the end of this blog – conclusion coming shortly – I couldn’t end without mentioning Catherine Quinn’s brilliant book: No Contacts? No Problem! How to Pitch and Sell a Freelance Feature. Continue reading

The Butcher’s Blog

photoI have a very dear friend who, over the decades, has made the steady progression from newspaper tea boy, to editor on a national paper, to bigwig media negotiator. And once flew from London to Australia to enjoy fifteen minutes in a room with Rupert Murdoch.

So I’ve been very interested to hear what he had to say on regarding my quest to become a freelance journalist. And yesterday the answers finally came – in the form of a fully formed post which I thought would be interesting to reproduce here. Continue reading

A Working Life in Words

Unknown-1I was really looking forward to meeting this woman, let’s call her Samantha.

From her first email I was charmed by her openness and warmth – an impression only enhanced by her welcoming smile and the words, ‘I’m really sorry, but I don’t have a clue why you’re here.’

Objectives of the meeting explained, we started with my current favourite question… Continue reading

On Being A Journalist

1009785_605530999486595_556337990_nWell, here’s someone who likes to start the day early. In gloriously frosty sunshine, it was 7.45am and I was sitting outside ‘Ed’s’ office, where he was already hard at work.  

Having decided not to do the NCTJ course, our chat became an exercise in looking more specifically at how to ‘be’ a journalist, what editors are looking for in freelancers and how to approach writing an article.

Oh, and how goats’ cheese often lacks its requisite apostrophe. Continue reading

A Dinosaur of The Jurassic Coast

giant-dragon-head-on-beach-designboom-08Journalists get such a bad rap, I’d like to mention that I’ve never met a nasty one. In fact, during my years in PR, time and again I was struck by how nice they were. And despite this particular Editor – let’s call him Rex – describing himself as an old hack, you’ll not meet a nicer, more helpful one; not least because he managed to end my quest on this journey by providing the definitive answer half way through the interview. Continue reading

Prepping for an Interview

BiaE5KG8TNext up is an interview I did with the Editor of a group of local newspapers. I thought I should prepare some questions beforehand, and found these on an excellent site that’s worth a look if you’re planning to do the four month NCTJ crammer course in Lambeth. Continue reading

Answers Straight from the Beeb


So here we are again, back where it all started, the place that so inspired me to start this journey: BBC Broadcasting House.

Actually, these answers to my questions aren’t actually straight from the BBC, they’re from its recruitment company, Capita. And once again I’m very grateful for the time a very helpful Recruitment Resourcer took in responding to them all for me.

Continue reading