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Words from the streets

Bristol is a big place and there are more than enough good stories to go around. There is also good investigative stuff going on which is holding people to account again – something probably lost a bit in the wilderness years.” Freelance journalist, editor and copywriter Rin Hamburgh

says Bristol has everything you’d find in a big city but with a small, community feel: “We’re always thinking outside the box and pushing the boundaries.” The city is a great place to be freelance, according to Lawrie Jones – a freelance journalist and copywriter with Bristol marketing agency Style Content ( “Bristol has a really healthy freelance scene, with many people working for themselves as journalists and copywriters, often from the collaborative workspaces dotted around the city,” says Lawrie. “Desks can be had for as little as £80 a

month. The cost of living isn’t that high here. “Freelance is a growing career choice for many, with the

city’s creative hubs and bases exciting places to work. There’s a vibrant social scene with organisations like Bristol Media helping to bring together the creative community.”

P Where the work is

BBC: Almost 750 staff at BBC Bristol producing TV, radio and online - reporters also cover Bath. Local and regional output includes BBC Radio Bristol and BBC Points West, Inside Out and Sunday Politics West. Lots of factual programmes are produced in Bristol - the Natural History Unit is based there and The Arts Unit in Bristol makes documentaries. More than 350 hours of network radio is made for BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio 3 in Bristol annually, including Farming Today, The Food Programme, A Good Read, Any Questions? and Any Answers?

Immediate Media: About 470 employees. The company has a wide variety of special interest content magazines – those

produced at its Bristol offices include Countryfile and Sky at Night. It also has offices in London and Manchester.

Future: Approximately 400 employees in Bath. It also has offices in London. The media and publishing company has a portfolio of websites and magazines, including Total Film and TechRadar.

Local World: About 160 staff in two offices. Bristol has approximately 127 employees, publishing daily papers The Bristol Post, Western Daily Press and the weekly North Somerset Mercury. The company has about 34 staff in Bath, producing the Bath Chronicle, Frome Standard and Somerset Guardian.

aul Breeden, owner of hyperlocal newspaper the South Bristol Voice (www. – part of a series of ten titles in the city, says: “Bristol is urban, very creative and innovative. It’s an honest

and very welcoming place – the people are friendly and straightforward.” Paul, who previously worked at the Western Daily Press and

is chair of the Bristol NUJ branch, adds that many TV shows are made in the city and Aardman, maker of Shaun the sheep, has its animation studio there. Louis describes Bristol as an exciting, forward-thinking city

that’s on the up: “It’s where Londoners are turning for ideas, inspiration, homes and jobs. Of course, there’s another side to the coin and huge swathes of the city aren’t getting any better. It can be an oddly divided place at times. You can go for a pint for £2.10 in a local pub in one of the more rapidly changing areas and walk across the road and pay £4.90 for some craft ale in a trendy bar and not hear a Bristol accent.” Meanwhile, in Bath – a UNESCO World Heritage City, known for its stunning architecture and historic Roman Baths – the main media employer is Future. Focussing on niche magazines, it has a hefty portfolio of lifestyle titles and digital media, specialising in fields like photography, technology, music, film and games. The city also has free weekly lifestyle magazines Bath Life

and Bath Magazine, plus a number of smaller book publishers and The Bath Echo, a community news and events website for Bath and its nearby villages. Freelance journalist Tim Bullamore started his journalism career at the Bath Chronicle and has lived in Bath for 20 years. Tim, a sub for The Times and obituary writer for The Times and The Daily Telegraph, says it’s a very compact city: “You go out for a pint of milk and you’re very likely to bump into people you know…an hour later you finally get home!” The area is home to lots of journalists and writers,

including columnist and author Bel Mooney. Other famous residents have included former editor of The Times, the late William Rees-Mogg, who owned a house near Bath. Tim, also editor and owner of Jane Austen’s Regency World magazine, says part of Bath’s appeal to journalists is its location – trains take an hour and 30 minutes to London at peak times. “And you’re never far from beautiful countryside,” adds

Tim. “Bath is surrounded by green belt. You can easily get to The Cotswolds or the Mendips. It’s a wonderful place to live and be a journalist.”

Lara Watson, editor of Mollie Makes: “It’s a great place for kids. My brother and his young family are based in Bristol and the city has so much support and activities for youngsters.”

Rin Hamburgh, freelance journalist, editor and copywriter: “Bristol’s location is ideal – it’s as easy to pop down to the coast for the weekend as it is to get into London so we’ve really got the best of both worlds. I’ve been here 12 years and wouldn’t dream of leaving.”

Freelance journalist Tim Bullamore: “Bath is beautiful and there’s a lot going on, including the festivals, but it’s very expensive to live in the centre – it’s London prices.”

Freelance journalist and copywriter Lawrie Jones: “Bristol is young and there’s always something going on that can inspire you. Whether it’s a new bar or restaurant, an exhibit or gallery or one of the many festivals across the city, there’s no chance you’ll be bored.”

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