In 2017/18 independent education schools in Edinburgh made an economic contribution of £125 million Gross Value Added (GVA), while also supporting 3,000 jobs. For the latest addition to our Meet the Journalist series, we chatted to Jo Golding, Editor of Independent Education Today.
Jo became the Editor just six months ago – we caught up with her to discuss her role, the challenges of print media compared to online publishing and how independent schools benefit from securing coverage in her title.
What do you read and where do you get your news?
“I read about education on websites such as TES, BBC, The Guardian, The Telegraph and The Independent, although Twitter is always a good place to find stories too. I was a big fan of Glamour as a print magazine and now look at their website from time to time. The Guardian’s women section is my absolute favourite for thought-provoking pieces. Otherwise, I read a range of books from thrillers to comedies.”
What have been your career highlights?
“I’ve got to travel to some amazing places as a journalist, which I probably wouldn’t have done without this job. I attended a print technology conference in Las Vegas last year, which was a surreal experience. This year I’m going to Dubai for the Global Education and Skills Forum.”
What’s the best advice you have ever been given?
“From various colleagues: ‘you can’t cover everything, pick your highlights’. It has really helped me when I’ve felt overwhelmed by content opportunities.”
What, in your opinion, are the advantages of a good journalist / PR relationship?
“It means having someone you can rely on when you need content and you need it fast. It’s invaluable as a magazine editor to know PR people who are genuinely interested in your magazine, have relevant content and send things in on time.”
What’s the worst habit of a PR?
“Sending through content that is not relevant for the magazine’s specific market. Also, calling up too soon after sending an email to ask about a press release – we simply can’t get through all our emails on a daily basis.”
What challenges do journalists face today?
“Staying strong in both print and online can be a challenge. The demanding nature of producing a print magazine can mean online could be pushed to one side. It’s important to have a team that can support you both online and in print, with the right skills across the two.”
How do you prefer PRs get in touch with you?
“Email, definitely. However, if they haven’t heard from me for a week and know that their content would be relevant for the magazine then a phone call is good to bring it to my attention.”
What stories or angles are you looking for?
“I’m always looking for opinion pieces from teachers at independent schools, whether there’s a mental health initiative their school is championing or something in the news they want to argue against. We cover a range of topics, which you can see on our website – from catering and facilities, to policy and finance.”
How does your content online differ from the print edition?
“They work hand in hand really, but the magazine will always have exclusive content that isn’t on the website yet. Whether it’s in-depth features, interviews or our new School Spotlight feature, the magazine has been designed beautifully to enhance content. The website is great for breaking news, as well as other interesting content such as webinars.”
What opportunities does Independent Education Today present for independent schools in Scotland?
“We celebrate the whole of the UK’s independent schools, including Scotland. Our latest issue has an interview with Elaine Logan, former warden at Perth-based Glenalmond College. In December, we reported that independent schools in Scotland have provided in excess of £51m in fee assistance during the academic year 2018-19 (figures by the Scottish Council for Independent Schools). There are many opportunities for all independent schools to celebrate their achievements within Independent Education Today.”
What content gets the most engagement from your target audience?
“Our blog posts are particularly popular and are often written by the heads of independent schools, whether they’re small schools or big, renowned ones.”
Are there any challenges facing industry-specific titles?
“I think industry-specific titles are surviving because of their appeal to the people working in that, often niche, sector. As with any magazine, there are challenges in competing with digital, however, making the two work seamlessly together goes a long way to solve this.”
What was your perception of the independent education sector and how has this changed, if at all, during your time at Independent Education Today?
“I was new to writing about the independent education sector when I started my job six months ago and I think going in without a lot of prior knowledge can be an advantage. I’ve learnt how much independent schools contribute to the economy and that a lot of people working in the sector haven’t come from independent education themselves. It’s a real collaboration of different people. One thing they all have in common is that they are passionate about high standards of education and the wellbeing of children, and I’m enjoying getting to know the sector immensely.”
At Represent we work with clients in the independent education sector and have the media connections to tell your school’s story. Want to contact us? You can email us on email@example.com or call us on 0131 526 3190. We’d love to hear your challenges and provide a tailored solution!