My career started in journalism working for the local and national press in print and online.
I was Deputy News Editor at Daily Mirror online and Section Editor covering finance, investigations, health, travel and advice. My role involved covering major breaking news stories, like the 2008 financial crash, MPs expenses scandal and US election; producing, editing and commissioning written, picture and video content for the website; editing the homepage; representing the web team in conference with the newspaper; converging print and online content; managing blogs from Mirror columnists like Dear Miriam and Penman and Sommerlad Investigate; developing the Sunday Mirror’s travel content alongside the Sunday Mirror Editor; helping implement the 2008 site redesign; building parts of the content management system; ensuring content was found through social media and SEO. I was trained in video journalism, blogging, social media and search engine optimisation.
Prior to that I was a Senior News Reporter for city daily newspaper the Plymouth Herald, where I covered crime, politics, culture, business, health, education, defence, sport and travel. I also shifted on the newsdesk, edited a community creative writing page and spent a six-month sabbatical as a blogger in Rio de Janeiro. In Brazil, I wrote a personal diary of my experiences, from learning the language, to baile funks, to bikinis; and of larger socio-cultural issues including race, crime and religion. I have an NCE Senior Journalist Qualification and an NCTJ Journalism Diploma covering Media Law, Public Affairs, Court Reporting, News Reporting, Journalistic Practice and Shorthand. I continue to work as a freelance journalist, although my focus in the past few years has been on creative writing and interactive narrative.
In 2006, I won ‘Newcomer of the Year’ in the South West Media Awards and was highly commended as a finalist in the UK Press Gazette Awards 2006, for a different set of stories.
Below is an archive of some of my cuttings divided into Daily Mirror, Rio diary blog: 'Dancing on the Sand', and The Herald.
Selected stories from my time on the Daily Mirror:
Markets in meltdown after worst financial crash since Wall Street / Video: Fire destroys historic pier / Top council officials lose jobs over Baby P tragedy / Black box recording released in Hudson River plane landing / England’s first three cases of swine flu / Fishermen survived 25 days in an icebox in shark-invested waters / London sniper named as barrister / Prime Minster’s wife Sarah Brown posts message of support to cancer sufferer in mirror.co.uk forum / Apocalyptic vision of London launched at Tate Modern
Obama ‘08: Video: Barack Obama launches bid to become first black president of America / Live blog in the build up to the inauguration day oath (this was before Mirror had live blogging software) / Presidential Firsts / Inspirational words from past presidents
Missing schoolgirl Shannon Matthews found alive / Schoolgirl Shannon Matthews drugged and noosed in fake kidnap plot / Newlyweds murdered on honeymoon in Antigua / Pictures: Inside the London flat where two students were murdered / Man found guilty of murdering his police officer wife / Timeline of the canoe fraud
NASA spacecraft lands on Mars / Timeline of internet milestones on 20th anniversary of world wide web / Scientists discover largest animal eye / 9/11 rescue dog cloned / Scientists discover world’s largest insect / Incredible new pictures of Atlantis and Hubble passing the sun
Video: Hannah learns daring circus skills / Top 10 miracle escapes from death / The best have-a-go-hero fight backs / Top 10 momentous feats achieved in five minutes / Dumping your lover in the 21st century / Daily Mirror film competition won by young Hep C sufferer (I ran this campaign to find a new filmmaker and was on the judging panel) / Cute koala cools off in Australian heatwave
In 2007, I was on a six-month sabbatical in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, as a Rotary International Cultural Ambassadorial Scholar. I was 26, living with a Brazilian family, attending school each morning to learn Portuguese, working with Rotary charities and writing about my experiences adapting to life in a new country.
The Herald published my weekly blog 'Dancing On The Sand' which attracted more than 20,000 page views globally. This was the first time I had such a direct relationship with an audience (through the comments) and it was an eye opener.
There were lots of fans, including Brazilians who came across it on Google and commented regularly; but my favourite reactions came from detractors who accused me of being a Carrie Bradshaw wannabe and writing too much about sex and parties. Here's a couple of the best comments from readers who came to my defence:
"Are there really people out there in the shadows, watching to see if you're having a good time and then waiting to shoot your writing down as a result of it? Unbelievable. Stop your laughter, Hannah. Stop your dancing. And for god's sake, stop writing about life as if you enjoy it…"
"Wow! It never ceases to amaze me the jealous poison some people seem to enjoy inflicting on women who manage to be both sexy and intelligent. So serious journalism should start with self-flagellation? And what Hannah is using is called an extended metaphor! Granted it's not to everyone's taste but nevertheless it's a simple poetic device used by novelists and poets. And hey, Carrie Bradshaw got her own book deal! So watch out, Hannah Wood; Sex in the Favela ;-) ....now that'll be both an educational and, oh sin of sins...crackin' read."
There was actually a balance of light and serious entries, covering everything from baile funks and bikinis, to racism and crime. In the below flip-book, I've collated some posts from the blog.
The gallery below features stories from my time on the Plymouth Herald. You may have to zoom the screen to read them.