UK-based Courtenay Hitchcock is Co-Founder of Bluebean Publishing. He talks to The Industry Leaders about how he got started in the media business after a career as a photographer and tells us about his wish for the future of journalism.
How did you end up sitting where you are today?
To put it simply ... the pandemic! As a professional photographer in events, you could say I wasn't doing much last year. I made a flippant comment to my wife that we could start up a new digital magazine to fill a gap that had been created locally. In an unexpected turn, she said yes! We both have the right skill set to make this work and, thus far, this is being born out.
What kind of work does your role involve?
As one half of a two-man team (well, one woman and one man), pretty much everything! My main role is sales and the artistic side of the publication, with my photographer's eye coming in handy, but I do any required task on any given day. It is a challenge, that's for sure.
What gets you excited about your industry?
The possibilities. By that, I mean you really don't know where it will take you next and, along the way, you get to meet (well, on Zoom anyway) lots of interesting people. It has also been great to help those in need. We've even put old friends who lost touch some sixty years ago back together. Wow!
What's the best advice anyone ever gave you?
Believe in yourself, and never give up.
What, or who inspires you?
Ermentrude, the cow from the magic roundabout, the eternal optimist, she is sassy and just goes her own way. But seriously, anyone who has faced adversity and just keeps on moving forwards regardless, doing it their way!
How do you keep up to speed with what's happening in your industry?
I ask my wife! But I also read widely across various media outlets, both consumer and trade, digital and traditional print.
What was the most challenging project or situation you've overcome?
Starting a digital magazine in the middle of a pandemic has to be right up there.
You finish work today and step outside the office to find a lottery ticket that ends up winning $10 million. What would you do?
After the obvious of making sure family etc., is looked after, I would probably travel as much as possible when we can get out and about again. There are so many places I want to see and so many things I want to do.
The million-dollar question I suppose everyone wants to know is: would I keep working? The answer is probably, to some extent, yes. But I would make some good hires to make sure I wasn't tied to the long hours and enjoy my ability to offer others the opportunity.
How do you switch off after a day at work?
I get outside as often as possible. I love to hike and try to get as many miles in as I can every week. Other than that, it's family followed by a good book or film, a bottle of red wine, some good company, and I'm set.
If you had one wish for the future of your industry, what would it be?
My wish would be that there is more value placed on genuine, impartial, fact-driven journalism and less in-the-moment clickbait. Good journalism still exists, but it is constantly being drowned by the need and clamour of sensationalism.
What book or podcast should everyone know about?
I have never personally found the time to properly investigate podcasts, although my wife is constantly telling me I should.
However, there are many books that I could and would recommend. Currently, right up there is the Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe. I can't say it is a wonderful read (in the sense of loving a story), but you can't put it down either. It's definitely a book that everyone should read. You may well re-evaluate your life after doing so.
How should people connect with you?
You can connect with me at:
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