Photo by Ilya Ilyukhin on Unsplash

Meet the journalists, part 1

Holly, Harry and Linh

Our original funding objective was for 10 journalists. We hit our target, so does that mean we’ve hired all ten?

Well, not yet. We’re taking our time because it’s important — but we have brought five talented writers on board so far, with more to follow.

Since your subscriptions contribute to their salaries, we thought you’d like to know a little more about them. So we sent the same five questions to them all, and we’ll kick off with our first three hires: Holly, Harry and Linh.

Meet Holly

Our first journalist, Holly Brockwell

Our first hired journalist was Holly, who joined WikiTribune before the funding campaign had even finished. If you tweet @WikiTribune, it’s often Holly who’ll reply. She’s currently working on an interview with Cory Doctorow.

  1. Hello Holly. Could you introduce yourself for us?

Hello! I’m Holly Brockwell, 31 years old with a background in copywriting and tech journalism. I’m from Nottingham in the East Midlands of England (I don’t have the accent, but I do like to say “it’s all good in the Robin Hood,”) I was born on a Friday the 13th, and I’m a giant nerd (joined Mensa at the age of 12 and my score made the local paper).

2. How did you get your job at WikiTribune?

I was a freelance journalist, therefore always looking for exciting new publications to write for. I read about WikiTribune, thought it was an amazing idea, and dashed off what I assumed was a hilariously original message addressing a spelling mistake on the website (“your first crowdsourced correction!”). Of course, it turned out a zillion people had already made this joke, but the brilliant Fiona — who handles the jobs queue — Googled me and put me on the interview list. I was the first interviewee, which led to being the first journalist hired by WikiTribune. I feel extremely lucky, which is unusual for me (see: birth date).

3. Why did you want to join WikiTribune? What’s it like actually working there?

I was pretty happy being freelance — I wasn’t looking for a job. But when the opportunity to interview with Jimmy ‘actual’ Wales (as I still call him now) came up, it was too good to miss. During that conversation, I found myself agreeing with everything he said about the problems with media and possible digital solutions to them, and realised I really wanted the job.

I work at WikiTribune three days a week, which gives me time to pursue my passion projects. It’s a great balance, and Jimmy is an excellent boss. It’s a really good feeling to strongly believe in what your team is working towards.

4. What were you doing before?

Running Gadgette, a female-focused tech site that I founded back in 2015, and writing for lots of other publications. I still do both of those things, and I’m writing a book too. I’m pretty much either writing or thinking about writing.

5. What’s been your proudest achievement so far in life?

I won Woman of the Year in 2015 for helping advance the cause of women in tech. That was pretty amazing. I was up against all these incredible women and didn’t think I had the merest shot at winning, so I was sitting there quite tipsy at the ceremony and suddenly had to get up and make a speech. The microphone was about a foot above my head and I hadn’t prepared anything. Thankfully the video cuts out after a few words!

Read more about Holly on her website, or follow her on Twitter.

Meet Harry

The picture Harry chose to represent himself. Credit: Pexels

23-year-old Harry is in the unusual position of having WikiTribune as his first job in journalism. An interesting start to his career! He’s currently working on a story about the future of meat.

  1. Hi Harry. Could you introduce yourself for us?

My name is Harry Ridgewell and I joined WikiTribune at the beginning of July. I will mainly be covering science and politics-related stories. I’m from the anonymous/pleasantly plain county of Hertfordshire.

2. How did you get your job at WikiTribune?

I was lucky enough to win a raffle, ‘Come Dine with MP,’ which meant I got to have dinner with Labour MP Stella Creasy and the founder of Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales. I expected the evening to be part of some larger event and to only get 10 minutes with them, but was delighted when I found out it was only the three of us in an intimate restaurant.

We got talking about fake news and Jimmy said he had a related future project but he couldn’t say what. Several months later I heard Jimmy announcing WikiTribune and messaged him on Twitter because I thought it sounded brilliant. Soon after, I had an interview and was thrilled to get the job.

3. Why did you want to join WikiTribune? What’s it like actually working there?

I wanted to join WikiTribune for several reasons, particularly because I’m hoping that showing your sources will become industry practice. Jimmy is very chilled so it’s great working for him. I also like the fact that because everything is new and everyone is seen as being on the same level, we can all contribute ideas to what we think WikiTribune should be.

4. What were you doing before?

I did an undergraduate degree in Geography and then went on to do a Masters in magazine journalism at Cardiff University. In fact I was just starting work on pretty much the opposite of WikiTribune — a satirical website for my dissertation — when I found out I got the job, so I took an interruption of study to come and work for Jimmy.

5. What’s been your proudest achievement so far in life?

Probably either getting a scholarship to Aberystwyth University, or getting this job.

Follow Harry on Twitter here.

Meet Linh

Linh in New York

25-year-old Linh is “culturally British, ethnically Vietnamese, and conceived in Hong Kong.” She’s been busy working with the tech team testing out the new website, and has already filed her first story on universal basic income.

1. Hey Linh. Could you introduce yourself for us?

I’m Linh Nguyen, I notice things and then write about them. What I like focusing on are structural trends, rather than exceptions. These stories can be quite complex, which means sometimes I can be slow.

I’m really interested in and hope to cover economic policy, human rights, mental health, foreign affairs, politics and the social side of tech for WikiTribune.

I also have a masochistic tendency towards cognitive dissonance. After all, growth comes from discomfort.

2. How did you get your job at WikiTribune?

I got my job by emailing Holly, who then directed me to Fiona [our Community Journalism Manager]. I sent in my CV and three articles on the media, the ‘neutrality’ of tech and Silicon Valley’s fight with death. It appears they enjoyed them.

“A free media is one of the pillars of democracy, and we must fight to sustain it”

3. Why did you want to join WikiTribune? What’s it like actually working there?

Simon Critchley says philosophy begins with disappointment. Bouncing off that, I wanted to join WikiTribune because I was disappointed in what media has become. There is a lack of trust, diversity and accountability that affects the overall quality of news. Much of this is to do with the general business model of advertisement. A free media is one of the pillars of democracy, and we must fight to sustain it. But more importantly, to evolve it.

4. What were you doing before WikiTribune?

I worked for an arts magazine as their editor and journalist, then started an organisation around mental health. I then went on to build community at a tech-start up, after which I became a freelance writer for a design prototype company.

5. What’s been your proudest achievement so far in life?

Travelling by myself around Asia and the north of Africa for almost a year, despite sincere but exaggerated warnings from loved ones. I also did a silent meditation retreat for 10 days which was both boring and useful.

Read more about Linh on her website, or follow her on Twitter.