A sudden turn in the road

Originally uploaded by Aztec West.

A few weeks ago I wrote a guest post for Wannabe Hacks about my work on New Start magazine and my background in the trade press.

Well, little did I know it at the time, but my stint at New Start (and possibly in the trade sector) was coming to an end. Over the weekend, I learned that the company that publishes New Start was winding up with the October issue the last one. As a result, along with a handful of other staff members, I am out of a job.

The reason for New Start’s demise as a print title and its future as an online service for Manchester-based think tank Cles is set out in this article. Essentially, it is linked to the spending cuts which have had an impact on some of the company’s more lucrative activities.

While I was shocked to be out of a job so suddenly, I am fortunate to be in a position where New Start was not 100% of my income. Since I returned to the magazine after a career break, I have been working part time. This has allowed me to build up a freelance career, which has included online shifts for Channel 4 News and broadcast research for the BBC.

My career as a full time freelancer started with a phone call at 8.09 yesterday morning asking whether I would be happy to do some emergency cover for a client. Later that day, I was offered more shifts. So things have not been as scary as I thought so far. The challenge now is to keep up the momentum.

Still, I am dreading the 25th of the month, the day my pay cheque normally comes. Chasing up payments has never been my idea of fun. I have no idea whether freelance will become a long term thing for me. For the moment, I’ll use it as a chance to try things I wouldn’t normally do and perhaps pick up some new skills.

I leave New Start with many fond memories. There were many highs, and very few low points. Even the last couple of weeks included highlights like my trip up the BT Tower and an enjoyable visit to Whitstable for a feature.

While working for an independent publisher is perhaps not as secure as working for one of the big boys, it is really rewarding. And I am proud to be part of a team that kept New Start going for more than a decade.

If you want to find out more about the magazine’s story, this post by New Start co-founder Julian Dobson is well worth a read.

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5 thoughts on “A sudden turn in the road

  1. Thanks for the post, Rosie, and best of luck. Keep in touch!

  2. Peter Demain says:

    Hey you did get some experience to append to the CV!

    I think all freelancers early on learn the lesson of getting a written agreement as to sum paid and so forth – even charities and public sources drop the affable act when the time comes to cough up. It’s pretty sad that freelancing is, in my limited experience, dog-eat-dog; it’s good your stint was paid-up as I do hear horror stories about non-payment and so on.

    Thin line between condescension and advice but it’s a constant thing to keep in mind in good and bad times to keep on making calls and chasing up apparently interested places. The forgetful bureaucracy of publications big and small is such that doing this is practically a standard part of the process of getting printed. But hey you’re far more experienced than my loon self so this is all sputtering conceit!

    You’ve got the spirit and from my perusings of this blog have enough of a way with words to succeed. That alone takes you a long way. Therefore I wish you luck – use your freed up time to go out and take snaps of places and things you may wish to cover; almost linked a ‘money saving tips’ guide…but one must draw a line.

    Pete, editor at Dirty Garnet.

  3. rosieniven says:

    Julian, will do – speak soon.

    Pete, Thanks for the tips. I appreciate it.

  4. Kath Acres says:

    Rosie

    I really liked your post.

    Although I haven’t been involved day to day for a while, New Start was a child of mine and I have great memories of the good times. It ended in a shot gun wedding to the nicest people we could find. The ending was (given the current economy) inevitable and the very best we could do.

    Jamie and Julian are amazing! You will be fine.

    See you at the wake.

    Kath

  5. rosieniven says:

    Thanks Kath – Hope to see you soon too. Just to point out to other readers that Kath along with Julian who posted earlier and Jamie were co-founders of New Start back in 1999, long before I joined the magazine. I’m hoping that one of them will publish their memoirs one day about how they got New Start off the ground – it would make a great read!

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