Let’s face it, February is one of those months where demotivation is a huge mood. Obviously, the current context does very little to help with any attempts at being at your best. Upon reflection, I think I’m now in month 10 of what will likely end up a years-worth of lockdown. Perhaps this is why January’s Review proved far more difficult to write than I had first anticipated – sitting down to appropriately document the last month within the constraints of a ‘readable’ article is actually a difficult task. This last week has involved a lot of reflection – which is never a bad thing. I remain convinced that we need to look at everything with perspective.
So, where are we? Well, January was a hugely progressive month for The New Collection. And by progressive, I mean a few different things.
First, for 2021 we launched our Tell Your Story – Change Your World campaign. The aim was to show people that we welcomed a new kind of journalism. A place where, loosely speaking, you can come to write about what matters most to you. We wanted to show people the power of writing. We wanted to give people the opportunity to feel empowered by other people’s stories. We wanted people to come and be a part of this new way of looking at the world. I think the Tell Your Story – Change Your World is the first promotional campaign we have launched that comprehensively explains what we are all about. I’m inspired by the fact that we are quickly becoming a platform for people to sculpt their own voice.
Secondly, with the new campaign, our Recruitment Lead, Ibrahim Lakhanpal decided it was the right and necessary time to restructure the way our publication works. He introduced a new leadership system – in which, the editorial team took a more supportive, hands-on role. Not only has this been instrumental in increasing the overall efficiency and productivity of the platform, I believe it has absolutely increased the confidence of our contributors. They realised that the editors are there to support them – to help them grow in style and structure, in confidence and enthusiasm – but also, I think, it’s encouraged people to speak up and engage with the community. I have always wanted the network and environment at The New Collection to be friendly, engaging and positive. A large part of that stems from the understanding that people are free to speak out, to give feedback and to not shy-away from asking questions or seeking support. The publication is a place where everyone should feel like they can say what they want to say. This is intrinsic to progress. I feel that in January, we took a huge step in the right direction.
Finally, at the beginning of the month, we added 20 or so new contributors to our New Collection community. We did this via a large recruitment drive through LinkedIn. This new bunch of people once again, represented everything we had set out to achieve for our publication. Diverse people, from diverse backgrounds, who are all passionate about different things. People who want to add their voice to a growing movement of journalism and expressive thought. Students, the employed, the unemployed – people at different stages of life. People who are interested in European politics, sustainability, mental health and writing about interesting young people doing cool things.
Moreover, our university networks – Annabel D’Monte at the University of Nottingham, Cerys Turner at the University of Warwick and our third and latest addition Emily Rickerby at the University of Newcastle – have all begun their relevant university recruitment drives. Annabel’s team has already published several articles – for instance, Olivia Morel and Kallista Jayasuriya’s Will We Experience a Second Roaring 20s Post-COVID? Cerys’ team are awaiting their first induction meeting and Emily has efficiently began her process of recruitment. Our progress in recruitment is easily recognised by a glance at our platform, where you will find articles on a vast scope of interests. This month, our platform became a place of over 50 writers. In January, we published 36 articles – which for the record, is more than double the previous month.
I encourage you to go and read all 36 – I have no doubt, you will finish each one with a sense of inspiration. But for now, let’s just take a brief look at some of January’s stories.
Girls Talk was launched by the inspirational Ellie Wright at the very start of January. Since, Ellie has taken up her role as Lifestyle Editor with a creative mind and incredible attention for detail. Girls Talk was The New Collection’s debut series and it was introduced as a place that, ‘celebrates the kind of conversations womxn discuss, think or worry about in private.’ This series has particularly resonated with our readership and over the course of the month, Jasmine Brick and Bridget O’Sullivan have also contributed to the series. Ellie’s vision for where she can take Girls Talk is truly incredible and I look forward to seeing the series continue to shine. Our collection of Lifestyle articles are a perfect example of how diverse The New Collection’s voice is – Meghan Markle and Miscarriage: The Royal Family’s Loss is the World’s Gain (Katie Moncur) Can We Save the Planet in the Middle of a Pandemic? (Boglarka Chamer) Don’t ‘woo hoo’ for Boohoo – fast fashion isn’t something that should be celebrated. (Bee Skyrme) The North Face x Gucci: The Collab We Never Knew We Needed (Isobel Dignum) How to Survive a Long-Distance Relationship (Charlie Tohme) and The Fear of Graduating – Entering the Unknown (Annabel D’Monte).
Our Entertainment Editor Katie Moncur launched Moncur’s Must Reads in January, which is set to be a monthly series where Katie shares her top reads with you – ‘the crème de la crème of my little bookish world.’ For January, Katie recommended Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo and What Have I Done? by Laura Dockrill. As our newest featured section, Entertainment has progressed steadily and Katie’s efficiency has been a huge part of this. People are interested in writing from all sorts of perspectives. Articles such as Which Schitt’s Creek Character are you? (Katie Moncur), The Rise of Audiobooks (Sophie Swift), Soul’s Film Review (Sam Bethune) and The Summer Ends: The Story of Midwest Emo (Matheus de Sa) add to the diverse voice that The New Collection represents.
Under the leadership of Editor Harry Higginson, The New Collection’s Current Affairs section has gone from strength to strength. January saw a huge growth in our capacity for political output. Rose Heffernan’s article Belarus: a nation risking its life for democracy was our most-read Current Affairs article to date – and second most-read article ever. Not only is this made more impressive by the fact it was Rose’s first article for The New Collection, it demonstrated that our readership, although keenly interested in Entertainment and Lifestyle, were also profoundly interested in the politics of Europe, stories of hope and people standing up for human rights. Elsewhere in Current Affairs, Harry’s knack for writing captivating political commentary, analysis and opinion has continued off the back of previous success – his weekly editorial is always highly anticipated. Articles such as What’s going on with Labour? A (Very Brief) Rundown (Harry Higginson), Beets, Bees and Brexit: What the rollback on the use of pesticides could mean for a post-Brexit Britain (Bee Skyrme), “Change” A broken promise in Trumpland (Doug McCulloch) and Harry and Doug’s joint article Normality is not enough: An Inauguration Post-Mortem showcased the work of our dynamic Current Affairs team.
January inspired several contributors to create their own series. Cara Fielden’s Mental Health series has had two instalments to date – #1 Destigmatisation and #2 The Truth Behind Self-Care. Katie Ahearn took over our Focus Point series and rebranded it – Januarys’ In the Spotlight interviewed Hollie, a Small Business Owner. Our University of Warwick Ambassador, Cerys Turner also started her own series. Her first article for World, Interrupted was titled Veganuary, Viruses and the ‘China Problem’.
Our General Editor Aaron Dafinone has been a supportive and level-headed voice on the leadership team. His advice is sage and his experience has and will continue to be invaluable – particular when it comes to making the big calls. Mid-way through January, we held interviews for a Social Media Coordinator (SMC) and Aaron, who is currently recruiting for the UK’s vaccine rollout, was instrumental is helping structure the format of these interviews. As a result, we found Millie McIntosh, a third-year student from the University of St Andrews – someone who is immensely passionate about hope and change and what’s going on in the world. Her experiences working with Women for Women international and SolidariTee were particularly inspiring and her creative skill for publishing engaging content for our social media, was instantly recognisable. Millie’s already a huge part of our community and I’m excited to see how she can further enhance our social media.
It proved an interesting task, trying to document all that’s happened in January. Look, it would be impossible for me to even attempt to do all of January’s articles justice, let alone include everything we have achieved as a publication in this review. But I hope I’ve managed to do the last 5 weeks, as a whole, some sense of justice. I’m immensely proud of every single contributor – some who have been published for the first time. The people who have shown up time and time again and are passionate about making their voice heard are the people who make The New Collection what it is quickly becoming.
Going forward, we need to be honest with ourselves – some days might be more difficult than others and as has been the case for me – the motivation and desire to write can change day to day. But for me, being part of the dynamic and diverse community at The New Collection, meeting people from all over the UK and finally, standing back to take it all in once in a while, will continue to give me the push that I need.
I hope that as well as writing and innovating, the people of The New Collection can take a minute to stand back and soak it up too. Stay at it. Here’s to more success in February.
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