A Day In The Life Of...
Ali Kirker, 48, has been a Lead Reporter at The Sunday Post, based in Dundee, for nine years
I’ve always enjoyed writing and started doing it in my spare time from a young age. When I was about eight I won a national prize for writing and so thought I might actually be on to something. I kept it up and then, when I was a teenager, my careers teacher at school said to me, “You’ll never make it as a writer.”that only convinced me even more to keep going. I got into journalism straight after school working onthe magazine, Jackie. It was my absolute favourite magazine at the time so it was really my dream job. Years later I was working as a freelance writer when I was approached to take a temporary position at The Sunday Post covering a six-month period of maternity leave. That was almost nine years ago! You never know what this job will bring, I love the constant variety. On the day the Naked Rambler ( pictured right) got released from Perth Prison, I went looking for him. I spent hours walking through fields and woods. In the end I gave up. I was just getting back into my car and he came wandering round the corner looking totally relaxed. I walked through the whole of Kinross with him and the reaction he got was amazing – he was treated like a rock star. I remember thinking I can’t believe this is what I get paid for! The hardest thing about working for a national newspaper is having to talk to grieving parents who have lost a child in terrible circumstances. Some experiences on this job really stay with you – for instance, speaking to Pam Ross, whose daughter Joanna was murdered in the Dunblane massacre. You wonder how people ever cope. I get up every day just after 6am, I could get up later but I like to have time to read, watch and listen to the news. My routine is pretty much the same every day and it goes like this; tea, shower, read, tea, hair, make-up, tea, try on about three outfits and realise I hate all my clothes and have absolutely nothing to wear, tea. And all while keeping an eye on the news and tutting about the state of the world! Thankfully, in the mornings, I only have to get myself ready. My youngest son, Ben, is 17, so he’s pretty independent. I usually get to work just before 9am and then have a morning conference. The rest of my morning is used up with research, coming up with ideas, writing features, checking social media and interviewing people. In fact, that’s one of the parts I enjoy the most – getting to interview really interesting people with a story to tell, it’s fascinating meeting so many different people. When I think back over my career
‘The day the Naked Rambler was released from Perth Prison I walked with him all through Kinross’
it’s hard to choose one highlight, but it’s probably working with great people – some have become lifelong friends. Sometimes by midday I’m right in the middle of something such as a fashion feature or more interviews, so don’t stop for lunch, but if I do have time, about 2pm I’ll grab something to eat. Sometimes it’s just a giant bag of crisps if I’m having ‘one of those days’. I try to have a proper lunch out with friends at least once a week. I’m a firm believer that a great gossip is good for the soul! If I’m having a tough day and things are going wrong, I always turn to my friend Dawn who is part of the team. We have a wee rant to each other on a bad day and usually end up laughing. We can put the world to rights in 10 minutes! I usually leave work at about 5pm – sometimes 7 on Fridays and it’s around a 45-minute commute home. Then I’ll have dinner with my husband and any of our three kids who happen to be home. My family and friends are actually quite intrigued by my job, they all love to quiz me about who I’ve met and what they’re really like. My mum also tells me about stories she’s read in The Sunday Post in great detail and I end up saying to her, “I’ve already read it – I work there!”. Of course, like everyone else, when I was starting out there were a couple of faux pas. Once I spoke to a pop star on the phone and when we’d wrapped up the interview I shouted across the office that he was a ‘total idiot’. Except I hadn’t hung up properly. Oops. If I wasn’t a reporter, I’d either be a sex therapist, a psychiatrist or a prize-winning novelist. Lots of journalists think they’ve got a book in them – I’m no different. I’d love to be a storyliner on a soap opera, too. Or an odds-setter for a bookies. The list is endless!