Why Northern Correspondent?
A population of two and a half million people.
Two and a half million people with stories to tell.
A region of contrasts: landscapes of breathtaking beauty and universities that lead the world in innovation and scientific breakthroughs. A corner of England with the highest rates of unemployment and poorest levels of health.
It’s a region that deserves and need its stories to be told and heard in depth, but the opportunities to tell and hear these stories are fast diminishing. In the past decade, 20% of the UK’s local newspapers have closed. Cuts in the numbers of journalists and the production of local newspapers or regional programmes many miles from the communities they serve, added to our growing use of social media means that we’re more likely to know what’s going on in New York or New Zealand than in Newcastle.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
We’re a small group of journalists and story-tellers, writers, photographers, illustrators, film-makers and broadcasters who are passionate about telling stories of the people and places of the north east. We’re going to tell those stories in whichever medium is best for telling each story.
We’ve begun this journey in April 2014 with a printed magazine, because we love the written word, but we plan to make short films and radio programmes too. Some of us are born and bred in the north east, some of us are blow-ins from elsewhere in the country, others from around the world. But we all share a love for this region, its people, its history, its future and its stories. And our vision is to be a part, a small part, of a growing eco-system of journalists and story-tellers in the north east of England.
We’re casting our net wide, finding new stories about this region, revisiting old stories that deserve a retelling. And we’re not going to avoid the stereotype and clichés – we love some of those things that the north east is famous or infamous for… but we might give them a fresh lick of paint.
So please, give us your thoughts and comments. Most of all, give us your ideas for stories about the people and places of the north east.
And in return, we will give you… Northern Correspondent.
Who are we?
Ian Wylie is a journalist who writes, edits and produces print and multimedia content for The Guardian, Financial Times, Monocle, Management Today, Google Think, Times Higher Education and others. He was a section editor at The Guardian for 16 years, commuting between London and the north-east.
Chris Stokel-Walker is a writer for The Sunday Times, The Economist, the BBC, BuzzFeed, WIRED and The Verge, focusing on long-form feature articles.
Sophie Bauckham is an experienced broadcast journalist and producer with the BBC, based in Newcastle upon Tyne.
Bob Cooper is a BBC Journalism Training Scheme graduate who has worked on in-depth documentaries for Radio 4’s File on 4 programme.
Our first issue
In Northern Correspondent #1, we meet the BAFTA-nominated filmmaker whose internationally-acclaimed movie explores the immigrant experience in the north east and discover the coastal town which refuses to lie down despite repeated economic blows. We ask where all the joyriders have gone, investigate cruelty within pigeon racing and look back at 10 issues of Novel, the magazine founded by Kerry Kitchin and the late Lee Halpin.
Plus: micro fiction from Tony Williams, poetry from Carolyn Jess-Cooke, photography by James Sebright, Steve Conlan and Nelly Stavropoulou, illustrations by Josie Brookes, Darryl Ibbetson and Peter Barlow, and interviews with Ben Folds, Jennifer Gardy, Jasper Hoiby, Martin Wainwright, Helen Pidd, Danny Savage and Jonathan Brown.
Locally sourced stories told by local writers, photographers and illustrators. We’ve even sourced some of our fonts from a local type foundry.
And all in a handsome, limited edition (just 1,000 copies) format (170mm x 245mm), 88 perfect-bound pages printed in full colour on offset paper.
Why did we use Kickstarter for our first issue?
Seeking support direct from readers allowed us to build and protect an independent editorial vision – and give them more in-depth reporting for their money.
But producing the magazine is a collaborative process. By involving backers in our project we hope to co-create magazines, films and radio programmes with the breadth, depth and variety of stories that they want to read, watch and hear.