A RECENTLY retired journalist who began her career in Salisbury has just released her first book about life behind the paper, after 63 years in the industry.

The Press Lady by Jo Silcox takes readers through Jo's journey progressing up the media ladder, in what she considers a comedic but insightful narrative of her journalistic career.

The novel will also highlight how the newsroom has dramatically changed over time.

"It was strange to have a girl in an office of men back then, but I guess I didn't mind," laughed Jo, reminiscing her first experience as a 16-year-old in the newsroom of Salisbury Times.

Jo worked for the Salisbury Times and Salisbury Journal following their collaboration, before moving to Cornwall to continue her craft further as a chief reporter, freelancer and later a court reporter.

The book includes a vast selection of anecdotes and events from Jo's life, which not only allows readers to have a personal and educating insight into her career, but also invites readers to explore the history of Salisbury and journalism.

One story Jo told Salisbury Journal involved a fancy dinner party: "This was an embarrassing story for me, I was wearing my best blue summer dress and I felt such a proud little lass, but then I saw all the other women wearing velvet, bejewelled, elegant dresses that fell to the floor, and there I was showing my knees in a dress for summer.

"I was mortified, I had to quickly hide my legs under the nearest table."

Jo however has also experienced the hardships of journalism, living through the National Union of Journalists strikes, and reporting about the Green Monkey Disease at Porton Down, 1976.

Even the title has an anecdote behind it, as Jo recalled being "furious" whenever she was called 'the press lady" by Magistrates during her time as court reporter.

"One even called me madam press and it made me so angry, but now it's been put to good use."

Jo has been retired since September, and lives with her husband in Feock, Cornwall.

When asked what advice Jo could give aspiring journalists, she said: "Well it's the best job in the world so stick at it no matter what.

"The best advice I ever got was from my uncle, who always said you should write how you would talk to your friend at the local pub."

The Press Lady is available from the Amazon Kindle store now.