Johanna Bell – Real Life Feature Writer

I’m a journalist with more than ten years experience working for newspapers and magazines – both nationally and regionally.

While training to become a fully NCTJ-trained journalist (National Council for the Training of Journalists), I worked shifts at a local newspaper – giving me a good all-round knowledge in law, shorthand and how the industry works.

After passing my exams I started working at the Chelmsford Weekly News in Essex as a junior reporter, followed by the Maldon and Burnham Standard and finally making it on to the daily newspaper, The Colchester Evening Gazette: the youngest reporter they had had on the evening newspaper’s team.

I passed my NCE (National Certificate Examination) to become a senior journalist and was promoted to court reporter, covering the magistrates and crown court cases affecting the paper’s readers and building the contacts I still use in my day-to-day life as a freelance journalist.

Having built good relationships with victims and developed normal court stories into in-depth, emotional features on the people behind the crimes, I realised my passion was with getting to know my case studies and putting their stories across how they wanted them to be told.

With this in mind, I made the leap into real-life women’s magazines; joining Full House magazine as a writer and working my way up to the position of commissioning editor. In this role I developed a good knowledge of exactly what magazines were looking for in a feature.

From there I joined a press agency, using my new skills to start selling real-life stories myself.

After a year as associate editor at the agency I had a fantastic contacts base with all the national newspapers and magazines and knew the best way to pitch ideas to each of them. I left the agency to work for myself and have been a successful freelance journalist since.

My range of experience has helped me develop a great eye for a story and also means I have a good idea of which stories work best for which publications.

Being directly in touch with all the UK National Newspapers and Magazines means I’m well placed to offer a range of media services. As you can see from my portfolio, my work is regularly published in a wide range of media. You can see the latest stories that I’ve placed here – PORTFOLIO

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