The rotating editorship passes from Holly Combe to Joanna Whitehead
In 2013, we began using a rotating editor system. Rather than having one person as constant editor at The F-Word, we decided to share the role within the team, with a new person coming into it every six to twelve months. This has given us a chance to share the admin load (hint: there’s a lot!*) and also gives different people the chance to inject new life into the site.
After the site’s entrepreneurial founder Catherine Redfern and talented journalist Jess McCabe had spent 12 years (over six years each!) laying the groundwork, our first rotating editor was regular blogger and brilliant music writer Helen G. Helen was followed by theatre editor, recruitment ace and now blogger/reviewer Megan Stodel. We then had a stint from our longstanding film specialist and editor Ania Ostrowska.
So here we are, another year later, and I am excited to tell you that our super clued-up music editor Joanna Whitehead took over from me last Saturday. I won’t put Jo under pressure by turning this post into a long lecture arguing exactly why I reckon she’ll be great, but I know she will be. (The fact I think she is bang-on about so many feminist issues definitely helps!)
Jo will temporarily hand over care of the music section to punk expert Cazz Blase, who some of you will already know from her work as a music editor from 2011 to 2013. Cazz will be filling in that role for at least six months and then, possibly, the full year. She has carried on occasionally writing for the site since her previous music editing term ended, so I imagine we may well see her again after this one.
There have lots of goodbyes and new additions to the team over the past year. Last August, Harriet Kilikita joined us as fiction editor and very quickly settled in to deliver regular, reliable and high-quality editing. She will sadly be leaving us, after a year of excellent work, next month. Harriet, you will be missed!
Also missed is Shoshana Devora, who left her social media role on the site back in February, after a two-year stint of tireless input. Shoshana also happens be an insightful and switched-on writer, so we hope it’s not goodbye forever.
Harriet’s August 2016 arrival was followed a month later by a total of seven other new recruits: features editors Pooja Kawa and Aisling Twomey, TV editor Yasha Gosrani and guest content editors Monica Karpinski, Dawn Robinson and Amy Grant. Then, in April 2017, we were joined by features editor Sophie Jackson and visual arts editor Erin Aniker.
Each of our new editors has done some great work. For example, Yasha has not only developed the TV section, but also teamed up with Ania in March to amalgamate it with film. Meanwhile, Monica is exactly what I would hope for in a guest content editor: well-organised and good at engaging new writers. Both Yasha and Monica remain in these roles and are assets to the site.
Other examples of memorable work, for me, would be Pooja’s input during a later recruitment drive and Yasha and Aisling’s sharing of legal knowledge when we needed to navigate a difficult story in October. We only had the benefit of having Aisling on the team for a little while but I’m very glad to have met her. More recently, Pooja has also moved on from features but I’m pleased to say she’ll be staying on the team in an editorial capacity. We are also lucky enough to have Sophie Jackson in charge of the section. I’ve been excited to work with Sophie, as she has a strong intersectional approach and is good at dealing with difficult commenters. Oh, and she also does a cool podcast.
Along with the above, we’ve had changes within the guest content section, with a short stint from Dawn and then Amy more recently handing in her notice for the role to concentrate on other areas on the site and her writing. Alongside Monica, Amy has consistently sourced and delivered relevant and interesting content for the busiest section on the site (which is not an easy task), so I look forward to seeing what she does next. I’m also pleased to say I’ve stayed in touch with Dawn (enjoying a few witty quips from her on social media!) so I hope to see some of her writing on the site in the future as well.
Another major development this year has been that we now have a visual arts editor after a long gap in terms of content in that area. Illustrator Erin Aniker is very well-connected and knowledgeable in her field and recently co-curated the ‘We are Here’ exhibition. You can read her F-Word interview with the DIY Cultures 2017 festival founders, Hamja Ahsan, Helena Wee and Sofia Niazi, here.
I’m now over the line on the word count for blog pieces, so I won’t go ‘all in’ on any reflections on my rotating editorship, but I will say the tasks I’ve particularly enjoyed have been media work coordination (with the occasional opportunity to intercept dominant narratives in debates!), sending juicy intersectional round-up links to Lusana Taylor (who does a sterling job with the regular content on the site, as well as running the non-fiction book section) and getting stuck into adding burning items to make Jess’ already very useful internal F-Word style guide even better. (Adding entries on comma splices and the sexist term ‘catfight’ were gratifying moments!)
We’ve also made some great progress with our site re-brand (thanks to our awesome communications editor Lily Kendall and the hugely valuable Andrew Bowden for all their hard work in this area) and the image resource I set up (thanks to the aforementioned Amy Grant and our fantastic blogger D H Kelly for advice). If you’d like to join the group and share or suggest pictures, please click here.
Thank you everyone!
*Special thanks here to our theatre and comedy editor, treasurer and dependable numbers and spreadsheets whizz Lissy Lovett, for recently developing a rather nifty new second edit system for the team.
Image description and credit
A collection of brightly coloured, upright felt tip pens, including variations of red, purple, blue, green, brown, grey, black, yellow, orange and pink. By Nicki Dugan Pogue and shared under a creative commons license.