Industry Voices

Ellen Stewart | Content Director | PinkNews

By Jess Browne-Swinburne

2 Oct 2019

Over the course of her varied journalistic career, PPA New Talent Award winner, Ellen Stewart, has played a vital role in developing the digital and social platforms at a number of publications. Now the Content Director at PinkNews, Ellen speaks about the importance of LGBTQ+ media in this day and age and why she was drawn to digital and social media.

Chart your journey from the start to your current position.

I started at Huff Post, working on the style offering that they had at Huff Post at the time. That was my first staff job and I loved it. Then I went to Metro UK to the digital side of things, at the time when the paper and the website were separating and The Mail Online had acquired Metro.co.uk and became deputy social media editor. I was then approached by what was then i100 and is now indy100. It was quite different going from the big MailOnline newsroom to i100 which was a whole new vibe with a different group of people. I then went to be the social media editor at the Evening Standard, just before Brexit. While I was there, I brought in two producers who worked on social, a reporter who wrote content for social and a video journalist. They just weren’t utislisng the fact that that this was the Facebook heyday and that people were online all the time. Following that, I went to PinkNews.

What is the importance of LGBTQ+ media?

I think it is important to have a publication that is specifically LGBT because it sets the standards for how LGBT news is reported elsewhere. It’s not only news, but also a resource for some people. We have a lot of people coming to us from very remote locations who could be in a situation where they are the only LGBT person in their town, community, family and the only information they can get is by consuming LGBT media. We are held to an incredibly high standard.

What has drawn you to digital and social rather than print?

I think it was the time that I came into the industry. It seemed really natural. It was never a conscious decision in the beginning. When I came out of university, I went where the work was, and I knew about digital and social because I consumed that type of media a lot.

How does a PPA 30 Under 30 Award add value to your career?

I think it gives you clout, and a sense of personal pride. It was something that I felt really good about. Some really cool people were named in that group, so I was pretty proud to be alongside them.

How do you handle your deadlines?

The hardest lesson that I have learnt is prioritising. I remember when I first started, I did not know how to order my workload or what to do first. Also, you should be honest with whoever is setting your deadline.

What does your typical day involve?

In the morning I will get reports from the 3 middle managers about how we performed the day before on the respective platforms. I will look over the news list and what is being done on the website.

Whose phone number do you wish you had?

Anyone at Google because I am currently locked out of my personal e-mail account and I can’t get hold of anyone.

What is the worst piece of advice you have ever received?

Unsolicited advice in general is bad.

What is the last photo you took on your phone?

I am a trained yoga teacher and I took a photo of prepping for a class I taught.

Room 101?

Baked beans

Introvert or Extrovert?

Introvert

Optimist or Pessimist?

Realist

Film or TV?

Film. I loved Midsommar!

Sweet or Savoury?

Savoury

What magazine would be your Sunday afternoon or long train journey read?

Vogue

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