PressPad Founder, Olivia Crellin, has a roundup of what we accomplished last year. She also looks ahead to 2021 and the work we will do.
Wow. What a year that was. I don’t think ANY of us want to do THAT again. And luckily we won’t have to. Happy 2021 – you made it!
You’ve probably heard the saying you never walk in the same river twice – so even while 2021 is looking like the smaller cousin of 2020, with Covid-19 still at large until vaccine programmes penetrate the general population, and economic hardship stretching out for many of us, 2021 will be different.
While I’ve heard lots of people say that they’re “writing off” 2020, at PressPad we are definitely not. Firstly, we have so much to be glad of: We launched a vital and new online service #PressPadRemote as a response to lockdown and we successfully fundraised to keep that programme going for a minimum of 4 months in 2021.
We were able to make advances in how we will deliver our host-mentorship scheme – in spite of the fact we couldn’t host a single intern because of the pandemic. We did this by using part of the money raised through our 2019 #DiversifytheMedia crowdfunder to build our host-mentorship platform, integrating safeguarding measures and data impact measurement. It’s not “just a website” but an incredibly exciting and innovative bit of tech that we hope will allow us to keep PressPad’s future costs down and allow us to stay lean but scale our impact.
And spoiler alert: We will still be hiring the coordinator we had originally hoped to appoint in 2020 as soon as hosting is possible again – anyone who donated to us for that sole reason will see us fulfil that pledge very soon.
We were able to continue to hire and support diverse young journalists, fostering the young talent that is our Newsletter and Blogs Editor, Amber Sunner, and our Social Media Editor, Ayomikun Adekaiyero. We even took on five paid interns to help with the design and fundraising for #PressPadRemote Season 2 during our crowdfunder, which provided them with opportunities to see under the hood of PressPad, learn how to use social media to reach an audience and get some additional support with their own work.
We also survived what we hope will be the worst of the pandemic. Thanks to a grant in early 2021, we were not just able to keep going but, with the #DiversifytheMedia funds, we could strategically continue to develop so that in 2021 we can come back bigger and better, delivering on our mission to improve socio-economic diversity within the media through our host-mentorship scheme.
Secondly, we’ve learned too much: In 2020 PressPad took part in the Future of News Fund accelerator, was selected for the We in Social Tech programme for female-run tech-for-social-good start-ups and graduated from the School for Social Entrepreneurs. That’s a LOT of learning. While we are an incredibly small and new organisation, each scheme, and network we take part in significantly upscales how we can run PressPad as an organisation, which is good news for everyone.
We’ve also continued to listen to our young people, the journalism community, our donors, sponsors and potential media clients and watched developments in the industry in general. And we’ve learned as an organisation on everything from how to better improve our internal processes (thanks to our current business administration team, AdaVirtual) to running ambitious online events and fine-tuning the criteria for our future bursary scheme (with input from Diversity and Inclusion consultant Frank Starling).
But that was all 2020. What does this mean for 2021?
In 2021 PressPad aims to:
- Bring back our host-mentorship scheme using our new marketplace web platform, creating a sustainable paid-for model with bursaries for those who cannot afford the small fee and relationships with large news organisations, who can use our platform to provide accommodation for their interns
- Continue our hugely successful free online Covid support programme #PressPadRemote for at least 4 months
- Hire at least 3 employees on fixed term contracts to deliver the programmes above
- Redesign and better communicate what PressPad is (a social enterprise), how we are set to operate going forward, what our priorities are and how we achieve those- including more regular updates on how we use any public funding we receive. As well as redo our current website.
- Continue to stand for and speak up for our progressive values and improving access to careers in the media for all minorities, and particularly those who come from outside of London and are from low socio-economic backgrounds.
- Continue to operate as a part of a generous, supportive and open coalition of organisations all trying to improve diversity within the media. There are a lot of great schemes, programmes, entrepreneurial publications and groups and we believe there is space for everyone.
So – that’s a lot to keep us busy in 2021 – but, almost 3 years on, PressPad continues to grow, evolve, have impact and start conversations. We’ve learned so much and will continue to and we’re excited that we’ve been doing that with you by our side challenging, supporting and keeping us company.
Honestly, if you’d told me during the Christmas of 2017, when I first came up with what is now PressPad, that we’d still be here in 2021 I would not have believed you or known what that would look like.
I’m very proud of everyone who has been a part of bringing PressPad to where we are today and we look forward to continuing to innovate and provide support for those who need us, furthering our overall mission of creating a media that is representative of and trusted by everyone in our society.
Happy New Year to you all!