Stats, social media scheduling, strategy planning and editorial calendar-ing, just several things I was juggling on a super stressful work day just before we finished for Christmas when I got the tweet that I’d basically been waiting for my entire life.
Despite the pinch-me parts of my job, it’s so easy to get wrapped up in a bubble and suddenly posh parries, interviewing The Vamps and producing work which is read by over a million people per month just becomes part of the every day. Clearly I appreciate and value my job but when I’m walking round Sainsburys toying between types of pesto or shaving my legs in a hurry before a date, I don’t really consider how lucky I am.
So when I got a tweet from a young fan of the site one manic, stressful Wednesday evening, I cried at my desk because I could have easily written that tweet to Jo Elvin of Glamour or an abundance of journalists at the likes of More, Vogue, Sugar or Mizz when I was young… Or snail mail, as it would have been at the time.
The young female, who I’ve since found out is 14 from Hungary, tweeted me this:
And OMG it was the most relatable thing ever!
When I was as young as eight and started reading pre-teen magazines, I knew I wanted to be a writer. Despite not really understanding what a journalist was, I knew that’s what I wanted to be. When I got to 13, I’d read Sugar and More and giggle at Position Of The Fortnight pages because I thought sex was gross and people surely weren’t that bendy (wrong on the first, 100% right on the second)
Magazines, and later blogs, became my escape in my early teens and beyond from mental health problems and my mother taught me the value of some serious self care time with an hour-long bubble bath with only a brand new magazine for company. When I couldn’t escape my own mind, magazines helped.
Whether it was losing myself in a beautiful Tim Burton for Vogue fashion editorial and later making collages from the pages or reading sex confessions which I totally believed were sent in from real people (secret: some actually are but some aren’t), nothing gave me more pleasure.
When I studied media at college and later Fashion Communication at Uni, I defended print publications and shouted the sheer joy of paper magazines to anyone who would and would not listen. Despite working for a digital publication now, my ethos is still the same- there’s nothing better than finding a title that just works for you.
It’s so easy to lose the real value of the readership when the number goes past hundreds of thousands because you just can’t grasp the number in terms of real people in a room or a stadium. But comments like the one above remind me why I’m a journalist, especially a journalist specialising in teens and young people- because they need it the most.
My friend Lucy recently spoke so passionately about this when she uploaded a video discussing how she’d lost her job when teen site Sugarscape closed recently.
Teens relied on that site- whether it was for the latest 1D news or how to do the latest nail art trend at home. All of that might sound like fluffy filler to you but teens face so much shit these days that if they can find any sort of escapism, comfort and happiness in a piece of journalism then that’s amazing.
Political uncertainty, the pressure of social media, rising mental health problems and the “normal” stuff teens go through like puberty, hormones, relationships and exam stress… As a 27 year old woman who has been through her share of shit and come out stronger, I know how important having a place of light is.
When I got that tweet it reminded me of the human aspect of digital journalism. It also reminded me of my teen self who had big dreams but felt like she had no hope of escaping her tiny village or her own mind. I was that teen once who idolised so many journalists and editors and they were the inspiration I needed to achieve my own dreams. If I can be that for one person, my career is worth every late night, every long meeting and every stress over Facebook’s bloody algorithm…
Thank you, F, you have no idea what your tweets meant to me.