At this year’s Press Awards, Jem Collins of Journo Resources was awarded The Georgina Henry Award for Digital Innovation. Here, she talks to our Social Media and Events Intern, Grace Holliday, about her win.
Grace Holliday: Congratulations, Jem! How were The Press Awards?
Jem Collins: Thank you! They were incredible. I didn’t in a million years think I was going to win. Just to be there with so many other amazing women was a dream. I know they’re also going to go and do great things. I was so shocked that
Nick Ferrari even asked if I was sure I wanted to give an acceptance speech – I must have looked quite a sight, and my words definitely came out in the wrong order. The peach dessert thing was also super nice.
GH: It was nice, I was pleased to find out it was white chocolate and not an actual peach. So, before we find out more about Journo Resources, tell us a little about yourself?
JC: I’m originally from Devon, and I moved to London a couple of years ago after I studied Journalism at the University of Kent. I’ve bounced around a bit, and have done stints for a local TV station, Politics.co.uk, Metro.co.uk, the i Paper and PinkNews.
I’m now working as a Special Correspondent for RightsInfo, which is a human rights news website that tries to explain human rights in a plain English way and get people engaged with them. It’s much harder than you’d think!
Alongside that, I am a trustee for The Student Publication Association, and of course, I run Journo Resources.
GH: So, for anyone who doesn’t yet know, what is Journo Resources?
JC: We’re a website filled with resources for journalists. Journo Resources is acknowledging that we have problems in the journalism industry, but, rather than sitting and wallowing, we’re doing something positive and constructive to tackle this.
GH: Who makes up the team there?
JC: For the first year and a half it was entirely me running the show, but I’ve slightly conceded now that I might need a little bit of help!
I have an excellent business partner, Matt Moody, who is also a reporter, who takes care of all of the branding and design. We’ve also brought in Abbie Cheeseman, who is a student at Royal Holloway, to help out with our events.
We’re still a tiny team, as we don’t want to take anyone on without paying them, but hopefully we’ll get bigger as the site grows.
“Journo Resources is acknowledging that we have problems in the journalism industry, but, rather than sitting and wallowing, we’re doing something positive and constructive to tackle this.”
GH: Why did you decide to set up Journo Resources in the first place?
JC: I am someone from a working class background who has no ‘ins’ or understanding of the inner circles of journalism. I found out about the Student Publication Association (SPA) in my final year of University, and became involved in student journalism. It was a lifeline to be given contact with people experiencing similar things and practical advice through the SPA, which for some reason didn’t seem to exist elsewhere.
Honestly, it changed my life and I don’t think I’d be at this point in my career without it.
After working with them a lot, I realised that actually, the need for this kind of practical advice and networking stretched a lot wider than students. There’s a real need for honest, practical resources for people at all stages of their careers, and especially the first few years. Hence Journo Resources was born and it seems to be going OK so far!
GH: As a freelance journalist I’ve often referred to your Freelance Rates page. I don’t know what I’d do without them!
JC: I’m glad to hear that! Our freelancing rates, and also our pitching guides and salary data, aim to provide constructive, practical and useful tools that are free to use.
“There’s a real need for honest, practical resources for people at all stages of their careers.”
GH: As well as the kudos of winning a Press Award, Women in Journalism also awarded you with a prize fund £4,000 to invest in Journo Resources.
JC: They did, and I’m so grateful! This funding and support really is a game changer for us. It means I’ve been able to leave my job and go part time so I can focus two days a week on Journo Resources. This should help to make it self- sustaining within a year.
GH: What do you hope for Journo Resources in the years to come?
JC: For continued support from the industry, to make sure Journo Resources is sustainable and is still here in years to come.
We’ll also now be able to get cracking with some bigger plans we’ve had to shelve for a while – we want to run some cool projects on mental health, churnalism and looking at the data behind young journalists in the industry.
I’m super excited to get started!