After five years on the Young Fabian Executive, I decided earlier this year not to re-stand. In recent days, the election results have been published and the question of which elected executive members take on which tasks has been resolved. Today, co-opted members of the Young Fabian Executive will be chosen.
All of which means it’s time for me to move on and hand over editorship of this blog.
When I first joined the Young Fabian Executive in 2006/7, our new media offer was relatively light. This blog didn’t exist. Sam Strudwick, then Web Officer, set one up when he redesigned the Young Fabian website a year or so later. But it wasn’t until I took on Editorship of the blog that we started getting the quality and frequency of content that you need to make any blog viable.
The editorial direction of the blog has grown organically. Originally, just executive committee members and the odd guest author would post. Now it has broadened into a space for Young Fabian members to share their ideas and develop their writing, alongside contributions from guest authors.
Colleagues on previous Young Fabian executive committees will know how much I’ve nagged to get blog content built into their other work. Not only is it a timely way of sharing ideas and thoughts, but it also provides content for members and supporters wherever they’re located and at whatever time is convenient for them. It is also a great way for members to get involved in Young Fabian work.
All the effort put into the blog since it launched two years ago has yielded encouraging results. Our readership continues to grow and we’ve been recognised in the Total Politics blog awards in several different blog categories this year. Our content is also being read by key opinion formers – our Middle East Programme travellog generated significant amounts of interest in the blogosphere earlier this year, resulting in our highest ever daily readership since the blog began.
But we shouldn’t rest on our laurels. I remember a little over a year ago having a conversation with a Young Fabian member who was criticising the way the blog was managed. He felt it wasn’t open enough and wanted more opportunities for members to be able to write. It was heartening that even then the blog was considered a central part of our published output. But, while I took on board the criticism, I remember thinking how irritating progressives can be – always focusing on improvements yet to make, rather than recognising what has already been achieved (at the time of our conversation, the blog had only been in existence for a year).
It is difficult for any one individual to meet that desire for constant progress and improvement indefinitely. Continued progress relies on continued renewal of ideas and of people.
In terms of published output, I’ve had two key roles with the Young Fabians – Editor of Anticipations, and Editor of the its blog. With both, I felt two years was more than enough time to make changes and improve their standing and content before allowing others to develop them further. I’d like to think I’ve made a difference to the way the Young Fabians think about publications and to the way its executive serves the membership.
Matt is well placed to pick up the baton. And I wish him well. I look forward to seeing the blog evolve further and writing for it again in future.
I’d like to thank the many people who have contributed to this blog over the last two years and to my executive committee colleagues whose ears I’ve bent repeatedly. I’m also particularly grateful to Louie Woodall who has ably assisted me with the editing of this blog over the last six months or so.
And to you for reading the blog, thus making all the effort worthwhile.
Alex Baker was a member of the Young Fabian executive between 2006-7 and 2010-11. He is a former Editor of the Young Fabians Blog and Anticipations, the journal of the Young Fabians.