In this week’s edition of ’10 minutes with’, the Evening Standard’s Loffhagen tells us about what makes journalism the “cornerstone of a functioning democracy”, the book she can’t stop thinking about and why she wants to give the England football team a hug…
How did you get into journalism?
Writing has always been one of my greatest passions but it wasn’t until relatively recently – during my undergraduate degree – that I first seriously considered journalism as a career. When I studied politics at A Level I became increasingly interested in current affairs and then first flirted with the idea of journalism to combine this with my love of writing. I did some student journalism at university, and then got a place on the Evening Standard’s apprenticeship scheme in September 2020.
Why does journalism matter?
Journalism is about holding the powerful to account and giving the powerless a voice, so it is the cornerstone of a functioning democracy. In a social media age characterised by misinformation and conspiracy, the importance of reliable, trustworthy journalism has never been more crucial.
Best scoop (yours or someone else’s)?
The best Evening Standard scoop I can remember since working here would probably be Sophia Sleigh’s scoop on Boris Johnson cycling seven miles from Downing Street at a time when only exercising “locally” was permitted. It forced the Government to clarify what “local” meant and created quite the storm at No.10.
What are you working on right now?
Right now, I am working on a project called “Vaccine for the World”, which is a new multimedia project from the Evening Standard. Over the next year, we will explore the global response to the pandemic as it unfolds, with a focus on the vaccine rollout in six African countries. We will highlight the challenges, the potential solutions and the role of London’s scientists and innovators in making the world safer for all.
Career highlight so far?
In June I had the pleasure of interviewing Patrick Hutchinson, the man who went viral for rescuing a far-right protestor at an anti-BLM rally last summer. He was incredibly kind, passionate and interesting and I was honoured to be able to speak to him. I also interviewed Leigh-Anne from Little Mix which was pretty cool for me as I was a huge Little Mix fan when I was younger!
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
The best piece of journalistic advice I’ve been given is to always stay curious. Sometimes the best stories come from just asking questions and being inquisitive about things that others would overlook.
Who or what inspires you most?
At the moment I have been in awe of the female politicians, leaders, journalists and all the ordinary people in Afghanistan putting their safety at risk every day. They are a constant source of inspiration.
Who would be your fantasy dinner party guests and why?
Honestly right now I would have to say the England football team, especially Marcus Rashford. I have been so inspired by their courage, resolve and kindness over the past couple of months and I would love to just give them all a hug.
How do you switch off from work?
I love playing sport and going to the gym — there was a point in time where I considered trying to be a tennis player, so tennis is something I love doing to take my mind off things. I’m also an avid reader; I have just finished “Three Women” by Lisa Taddeo which I can’t stop thinking about.
Gym or gin?
Depends on the day! Monday to Thursday I’d say gym, but the weekend is firmly reserved for gin!
If I wasn’t a journalist, I would be…
A musician if I was any good at it!