AB Thinks  →  30th May 2017

Crossing the divide

AB Thinks

Let me introduce myself: I’m AB’s senior reporter, having joined the company permanently in April. Although I did my first freelancing session here back in October 2016, I still consider myself a newbie – both to the company and the world of internal communications (IC).

My previous writing experience was almost exclusively in local papers: nine years of NIBs, downpagers, pic caps and leads about council calamities, prize-winning vegetables and road closures.

And while there are many differences between the two, the central portion of the local paper/IC Venn diagram is quite substantial. That’s where the people are.

The human interest stories we write about the employees at our clients’ firms are barely different to the ones I covered as a newshound.

But beyond style and subject matter, the biggest single difference I have encountered is in the culture of these two areas of our industry.

Economics, demographics and technology have deeply affected the way local papers operate. With savage cuts to staffing numbers and a voracious appetite for quick online content, it is difficult for a writer to devote much time to a story.

But at AB, quality is still king, and it’s such a relief.

Long reads are a large part of what we do and, crucially, we are allowed the time required to get these often complex feature articles right.

Nothing goes to press without everybody being happy with it, no matter what the wordcount is.

Having spent 18 years in the civil service before finding the career I should have had all along, I feel very attached to writing. My first five or six years on a local paper were extremely enjoyable, like I had come home.

But eventually, I left in a very disillusioned state, fearing I would never find another job that allows me to hone articles to the standards I set for myself. But I have found a new home.