Insights Executive Lewis Boulton reflects on what journalism means to him.
They say gardeners have green fingers; mine must be smudged red, black, and blue, covered in ink marks and papercuts. As a nerdy kid with a wild imagination, an insatiable appetite for information, and a love of reading, journalism has meant a lot to me for a long time. It’s broadened my imagination, given me the facts and perspectives I’ve needed to understand the world, and provided respite from the frenetic pace of modern life.
Firstly, I think of the boy who’d take the Sunday papers with his ham sandwiches and flick through pictures of exotic countries and fascinating people. Journalism meant a window to places he could only dream of, where people did extraordinary things. They coloured in history lessons and taught me new words; they introduced me to complex concepts and crazy anecdotes. They were like bedtime stories in real time.
Then I think of the wide-eyed, bushy-tailed fresher at university with a brain like an antenna. My friends and I would go to lectures, but it was the journalism that we would share from news brands’ websites that would really colour in the lines and add life to our studies. We used them in debates at the pub because we trusted them, because they provided challenging perspectives. They narrated the past, present, and future – we couldn’t get enough of it.
What about now? Finishing my studies has meant I’ve finally had the time to sharpen my sudoku skills. I have the time to pick up a weekend paper and scour the sections, delving into the supplements for new podcast recommendations or for long-reads on what’s happening abroad. Reading the paper has become the luxury I look forward to after a busy week. I can check out of the fast-paced world around me and turn the pages at my leisure. My time, at least for a few precious hours, becomes my own.
Now I’m here at Newsworks: an organisation full of life, drive, and a hunger to develop a news brand industry fit for the twenty-first century. The day-to-day experiences of a new job in a new industry have undoubtedly been exciting. It’s been great to learn about how the industry is creating new healthy relationships with brands so that it can thrive alongside the evolution of digital media. I’ve already met so many interesting and passionate people from across the industry and even been out in the field to see our research happen first-hand.
But when I delve a bit deeper, connect back to that nerdy little boy whose borrowed copy of The Times would flop over his head, I realise how amazed he would feel that he had a place there, helping to keep the industry going from strength to strength. Without those news brands that have accompanied me through my life so far, I would have had no outlet for my curiosity to flourish. I can’t wait to help make sure their journalism can spark the curiosity of the next generation, too.