Summer of stories: When someone says “I might have another story for you”
Katie Timms is a reporter at PlymouthLive. In today’s Summer of Stories Q&A, Katie talks about a story which started off being about something very different, before by chance taking a very unusual turn…
What was this story about?
A tattooist who has terminal cancer, but at the end of the interview he revealed he was painting his own coffin.
How did you find out about this story?
Jeffery phoned into the office after we had covered a story on the closure of his tattoo shop last year. He wanted to share his story about being diagnosed with terminal cancer to encourage people to appreciate the small things in life.
Can you tell us about what work went on prior to publication?
We had spoken with Jeffery before due to his popular tattoo business. We talked about what angle we would take with the story, he was a little apprehensive about how people would take to his take on being diagnosed with terminal cancer.
What was the reaction after publication?
We had hundreds of positive comments wishing Jeffery well. He called me to tell me he was very pleased with how the story was written and how his story was told.
ITV had also got in touch to ask if we could put them in touch with Jeffery and he is due to share his story on TV in the near future.
Why will you remember this story?
I went to interview Jeffery as he is overwhelmingly positive about being told he has terminal cancer. We conducted the interview, then as I was leaving he said he “might have another story” for me. He then proceeded to tell me he had his coffin in his garage and that he was painting it himself.
Did this story tell you anything about local journalism? If so, what?
As Jeffery had worked as a tattooist in the local community for more than 35 years, the story had a very emotive effect on our readers. This was as many of them had got their first tattoo from him.
Is there any advice you could give a would-be journalist based on this story?