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The Journo Grill: Jamie Carter, Freelance Journalist

Posted by Andrea Berghäll on 30th November 2012

This month we’re talking to Jamie Carter. Freelance tech journalist for the South China Morning Post, BBC Focus, BBC Sky at Night, T3, TechRadar and Pocket Lint to name just a few! Here he tells us about his tablet scepticism and fondness for productivity enhancing apps.

1. Describe your typical working day

Working from home means less time commuting, more time working. I’ve got an editor in China who regularly emails me during the night, and by 7:30am I’ve usually replied. Most of the morning is spent pitching ideas, interviewing, and calling in product review samples – it’s something of an email and phone frenzy.

After lunch I take my netbook to a local cafe and switch off my phone to get some writing done, either side of a visit to a gym.

2. What’s the best story you’ve ever written?

Last week I reported on a total solar eclipse from Palm Cove beach in Queensland, Australia, for the Sky At Night. I’ve been to Grand Prix and World Cups, but I’ve never written about something genuinely as affecting as the two minutes of totality. Bright red explosions on the sun’s surface are followed by beads of sunlight streaming through the moon’s valleys before a ‘diamond ring’ flashes for a second, then it’s all over. It was beautiful. Utterly breathtaking.

3. What’s the next big news for tech? What will be big in 2013?

In the short term it’s all about getting tablets into more homes and handbags, though I’m yet to be convinced by the ‘iFad’; without a proper keyboard it’s of little interest to me – and don’t get me started on Bluetooth keyboards.

I’ve also written about phone and tablet addiction already, and I expect to again until ‘hands-off’ voice tech like Siri develops and we all resume talking after a decade staring at our phones (not to each other perhaps, but it’s a start!).

4. How important is social media in sourcing stories?

I read news and opinions on Twitter, but I’m always conscious that most people don’t take part and don’t have the same opinions as the Twitterati. For me, Twitter is like a living CV – prospective employers and PR pros can see exactly what I do. It’s important to look professional because there are a lot of charlatans out there in the world of tech journalism.

5. How has tech changed the way you work?

My netbook means I can work anywhere, though at home I try to use Dragon Dictation instead of typing … who wants RSI? I conduct all my phone interviews on a landline speakerphone so I can record them on my iPhone using the brilliant iTalk app, while I use the Boomerang plugin for Gmail so I can schedule emails to be sent at specific times. No one should send emails at 10pm and look like a workaholic, even if they are!

Andrea Berghäll

Andrea Berghäll trained as a journalist and has worked in technology PR for over five years across a variety of IT and electronics clients, delivering high level campaigns.