Wannabe Hacks: what next?

Seven years on from our first post, we need your help and ideas to decide what to do with our journalism advice site

Last month, for the first time since 2010, Wannabe Hacks went offline.

It wasn’t dramatic or unexpected; we simply ran out of money in the modest joint account that paid for our server costs.

With no one currently running the site and no future plan, we decided that it was best to take the site down and reassess.

And how nice it was to reflect; a quick look at the stats showed that, in the seven years since Wannabe Hacks launched, we published more than 1,000 posts, wrote almost half a million words and attracted 900,000 unique visitors from 43 countries.

At our peak, we had more than 20,000 visitors a month — not bad for a blog that we ran in our evenings and weekends.

We had a piece in Media Guardian, were nominated as a top blog to watch, and helped dozens of people improve their CVs. More than 1,000 people signed up to an email newsletter (before they were cool). We also launched a smart new website.

But most of all, we met tons of great people. Some of them guest posted for us before going on to break into journalism and have glittering careers; others we met some at one of our several networking, which were attended by hundreds of people over the years.

We were also lucky enough to work with some of those people on Hacks, as we passed the reins over to three cohorts of fantastically committed young journalists who took the site on when we got full-time jobs (and were no longer “wannabes”).

Meeting like-minded young journalists was so thrilling and we still keep in touch with many of them (if you’re one whom we haven’t spoken to for a while, get in touch; we would love to hear how you’re doing!).

A few weeks ago, the five of us old Hacks met up recently for the first time in almost two years . It was clear that we had reached a crossroads.

Fundamentally, we don’t think that much has changed from when we started Wannabe Hacks. Journalism is as popular a career choice as ever, but the routes into it are confusing and the skills required for jobs in the industry are constantly changing.

We still feel that there’s a need to help sixth-formers, university students and graduates understand the routes available to them (and to decide on the ones that will work best for them).

Unfortunately, full-time jobs mean that we can’t give this task the attention that it deserves — and while some us would like to be involved in Wannabe Hacks’ future in some shape or form, it won’t be significant.

We’ve toyed with selling the content and the domain, or donating it to a university or charity to run as their own project. But really, we just want to see it go to someone who will put it to good use.

And that’s where you come in; if you have any bright ideas for seven years of Wannabe Hacks content — or know someone who wants to have a conversation with us about its next steps — comment on this post or drop us an email on hacks@wannabehacks.co.uk.

Thanks,

Nick, Matt, Tom, Alice and Ben

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