5 minutes with the media – Sean Defoe
Media HQ are running a series of short interviews with some of the country’s many talented journalists. In this post Conor Hawkins speaks to Newstalk’s Sean Defoe.
Media HQ caught up with professional travel blogger and journalist Janet Newenham to talk about her love for adventure, volunteering in East Africa and getting published in National Geographic! It turns out dreams really do come true…
Did you always know that you wanted to be a travel blogger/journalist?
Strangely, yes. I started travelling from a very young age and have always had a love of creative writing. When I was just 16, I spent six months living in France and that was where my love of travel started.
From then on it was all go until I was 18, involving volunteering trips to Belarus, sailing trips around Europe and 12 months teaching Business and Economics in a rural school in South Africa. I had a thirst for travel that, I would later realised, would never be quenched.
Did your studies feed into your desire to write/be a writer?
My first degree in University was in French and Economics but after another summer spent volunteering in East Africa, I knew the only thing I wanted to do in life was to travel and to write about my experiences.
I applied online, from Uganda(!!), to transfer to do a degree in Journalism and was delighted when I was accepted. Throughout University I wrote for all the student newspapers and magazines and knew straight away this was the career direction for me.
You’ve been published in some pretty noteworthy publications such as National Geographic and Huffington Post, can you tell me a little about those experiences?
When I returned to Ireland in September 2014 after living abroad for a few years, I was determined to start getting my writing published in bigger, noteworthy publications.
I started taking my blogging very seriously and reached out to some very big publications. In the last year I have successfully achieved many of my short term goals, and have been published in National Geographic Travel, The Irish Times, The Huffington Post, Matador Network and more recently Xpose Magazine wrote a feature on my nomadic lifestyle!
Getting published on Nat Geo Travel had definitely been my biggest accomplishment this year – they published my article but never told me!! I just found it by accident while browsing the web and nearly freaked out.
I hear congratulations are in order-you’ve been nominated and shortlisted for the Blog Awards 2015, how are you feeling about that?
It’s such a great feeling to be shortlisted for the blog awards. There are so few opportunities where us bloggers get recognized for our work, especially travel bloggers. The organizers of the Blog Awards Ireland have put so much effort into this event and I really look forward to attending in October.
I feel there are endless awards, nights out and ceremonies for Beauty and Fashion Bloggers, but pretty much nothing for Irish Travel Bloggers. Our own media outlets and Tourism Boards don’t even support us, preferring to write about and fly over bloggers from the UK instead. That’s something that really gets me and I hope to change that over the next year.
As a ‘Journalist (always) on the Run’, what part of the world are you currently traversing?
I actually just got back from a trip to Iceland with Wow Air and was totally blown away. Why more people don’t roadtrip around that magnificent country is beyond me?
I am already returning my return trip – it is honestly one of the most incredible places I have ever been. I also have trips to Portugal and South Africa booked for November so I am very excited for both of them. After that? Who knows!
Janet you’ve made some pretty big strides in your career thus far- what’s coming next for you, are there any big projects in the pipeline?
I have finally taken the leap to become a full-time travel blogger and freelance writer so I am working on building my blog brand and image over the next few months.
I have also recently been shortlisted for the IBYE (Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur) Competition for a travel startup I founded earlier this year called The Adventure Pack. That’s my real passion at the moment and I intend to grow it much bigger over the next few months. Feel free to join us on an adventure!
In a previous podcast we interviewed Róisín Ingle, daily features editor of The Irish Times and John Meagher, feature writer and music critic with The Irish Independent. In the episode the pair speak resolutely about how to pitch a story to a journalist, especially if said story is intended to be in a feature format.