Freelance Interiors & Lifestyle Journalist for Metro and other titles
"Any extra ‘angle’ to a product - or an interesting backstory - is always good to know."
Please give a brief introduction to yourself and the titles you work for:
My name’s Lara Sargent and I’m a Freelance Interiors & Lifestyle Journalist for Metro and other titles.
Give us the inside scoop, what is your favourite part about working for the Metro and the other titles you work across?
I love the quick paced, turnaround of working for a weekly like Metro - it means our home pages are fresh, relevant and up to date (the art team are a whizz with the layouts too). We can alter our content to what’s happening right now in the world - I really enjoyed switching to writing about products/services that were helping NHS/keyworkers during the height of the pandemic last year; it felt heartwarming and meaningful.
If you could give a PR advice on what to do to get your attention and secure coverage with you - what would it be?
Metro’s Hot List is all about newness so please do state when a product has launched/or launching in the first line. We are looking for stories that are as new as possible.
Bold imagery works really well for Metro. That’s not to say we don’t feature pale/white products but bright colours/deep hues pack a better punch in newspaper print.
Please send a selection of lifestyle and cut-out imagery so the art editor has a choice. And please can you use the Preview function on WeTransfer (it saves me having to download a whole folder of imagery, when I’ll only use one!)
Any extra ‘angle’ to a product - or an interesting backstory - is always good to know. I loved writing about interiors/food/drink products launched during the pandemic - it showed how creativity can grow even in the darkest, most difficult moments.
We love writing about well-priced/purse-friendly products on Metro - or launches that are a sell out (that must-have buy for the reader).
Please include prices and stockist information so I don’t need to chase (our deadlines are tight on Metro).
What is it you look for from brands you're looking to feature?
Brand new, hot-off-the-press homeware/ gardening products for every part of the home, inside and out. Well-priced, stylish and contemporary. We will include one or two blow-the-budget pieces to mix up the inspirational with the aspirational. For food and drink stories, we like something a little different/quirky with interesting imagery.
What’s the most memorable approach you’ve had from a PR (good or bad)?
One plus point for me during the pandemic has been the move to online Zoom launches and PR events. I live in South Wales so it’s always difficult (time-wise and cost) to leave my desk to attend events in London. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed meeting PRs and other journalists face to face (even if it's over a screen) so I do hope this way of communicating/pitching continues in the future.
Did you always know you wanted to get into journalism? How did you get into it?
I loved reading and reading materials as a child (I collected brochures and leaflets at one point I was so fascinated by the written word - ha!). I studied English Literature at University and then went on to take an NCTJ postgraduate in newspaper journalism - from here I quickly realised I wanted to write for magazines and not newspapers.
Tell us something fun/interesting that people don't know about you?
When I first worked in magazines it was for medical titles in the Macmillan publishing group like Care of the Elderly and Therapy Weekly - the subject matter was over my head but it was an amazing company to work for and a really valuable first step into the world of journalism. (and the press trips courtesy of the drug companies were ridiculously lavish e.g. skiing in Davos!).
I have also collaborated with Sir Terence Conran on one of his Kitchen books - his country house where we used to hold meetings was without doubt the most stylish interior I have ever been in. I can also speak Welsh (badly though) and took A level Welsh in the hope of working for S4C the Welsh language channel (which never happened!).
What are you most looking forward to this year as things open up?
I live a stone’s throw away from the sea which has been a godsend for us all during lockdown. I’m really looking forward to seeing friends again - a garden gathering is all I want! Now we just need the weather...