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Fit to Blog

8th January 2019

New year, new attitude

This time last year we threw our support behind the launch of The Second Source.

With a panel of writers made up of 58% women it was a no-brainer to back, in our own small way, a group determined to stamp out harassment in the media industry.

A year later and we still sometimes come up against the kind of casual sexism that could, if condoned, ultimately prevent the best qualified writer producing the best content for the job FFP has been tasked with.

It's the main, but far from only, reason our policy is always to address it head on before positively moving on to get the job done.

For us though, this is part of a wider intention.

For centuries, the media industry has had a reputation as the ideal career for chaotic men.

Today though, in a demanding, instant and very visible industry, there's no place for those of any gender hoping for an easy life, last minute content or an exclusive schedule of boozy hobnobbing that many looking in from the outside still assume goes on.

The loss of a four hour liquid lunch in the fabled Olde Cheshire Cheese on London's Fleet Street, (or if you were an editor, a wood panelled gentlemen's club further West) is weirdly lamented. 

It's almost as if the romantic mythology of 1960s newspapers carried with it something wholesome in the cigar-smoking, old-school approach compared with the brightly lit modern era.

We take a different view. 

The world of journalism doesn't look like that any more. It hasn't for many, many years.

We know, from decades in the most influential newsrooms in the UK and around the world, that the clarity, transparency, rapid evolution and high pressure of the modern media industry have long helped reinforce the professionalism of those working within it and, as a result, the industry as a whole.

We're proud of what we do and how we do it.

We know that professionalism - alongside intelligence and integrity - is critical for our success every day.

Our resolution for 2019 and beyond is to champion not just the professionalism of our writers and our business, but our industry as a whole.

 

31st October 2018

Hello World

For most of us September is the month we're rounded up by school, or the office. But I'm starting to think local and regional newspaper editors are rounded up by their accountants in September and told enough is enough.

At the last count, four small scale but very highly regarded UK media outlets have closed their doors in the last four weeks to, as always, dismay from those in their catchment and further field.

We can debate why they didn't show their loyalty to the titles while they were still operational another time. For me, the striking thing about the commentary around these closures is the lament for the community.

The immediate sentiment it seems (and I've been through plenty of closures myself - both as a reader and a journalist) is that without the information the paper gave it, the community will be lost. There will be no heart, no awareness of each other, no connection to those around us.

I disagree for one reason - our appetite for information, for news, for content we can relate to has never been stronger.

We are increasingly addicted to social media to give us that hit of tribal inclusion that was once offered by local papers with circulations of many thousands day in, day out, and which, once upon a time, few could imagine the death of.

Our sense of community is growing, not receding. And its wider than ever before. Many of us are deeply affected, even overwhelmed by stories that happen on our doorstep to people we know. But we also respond strongly to information that originates on the other side of the world, affecting people we don't know in places we have never seen and never will.

We weep, and call for change, and donate, and sometimes change the world in real times. For those who want to know, and always have, our communities can be single streets and the whole planet all at the same time.

And that, despite my deep respect for the local paper tradition that I'm very proud to say I cut my professional teeth on, gives me huge hope.

Local paper closures aren't a symptom of our cold heartedness, or some kind of creeping isolation. They are simply a symptom of industry evolution in response to changing preferences, cutthroat as it is, and, crucially, always has been.

Today we are more connected to each other than ever before. It has had incredible, often immediate effects. From supporting victims of unimaginable cruelty to calling out truth and lie in the White House to saving lives in real time. The march of social media, of a responsive, immediate media can be overwhelming at times. But my suspicion is that it is making us more human.

I for one can't wait to see where our thirst for inclusion, for information, for knowledge, and yes even for truth, will take us next.

Kate Hughes, MD @fitforprint