Today is a bittersweet one, as it is my last day at Storyful before I go off to start a new chapter of my career.
I joined Storyful early enough to be hired on by the founders, but late enough to get health insurance. I leave it now, nearly four years later, as a bigger, better and much more grown up company.
While I’d been a part of media startups before, I never got to see one through its adolescence until I got here. The experience has been what it must be like to be a stepparent – you weren’t there at the beginning, but after surviving some critical developmental milestones together, you do your best to leave a lasting and positive impression.
In one of my interviews to join the company back in 2014, I said I would work to grow Storyful’s reputation in the media industry beyond that of a UGC video service, but rather to be seen as a respected, social-centric newsroom known for bringing real stories to the surface. I think we did that – and a lot more – with more to come as Storyful continues to grow its portfolio in the analysis of online communities and disinformation.
In the past few years, the media, technology and business spheres have taken an increased interest in the power of social movements, and thus, in the work of Storyful. We were seeking the stories behind the stories on social media long before “fake news” ever became a watchword.
It’s been an exciting (and exhausting) era in social journalism. I started at Storyful the day after MH-17 went down over Ukraine. In the years since then, we’ve covered the war in Syria, the 2016 campaign trail, the rise of nationalist movements in the US and Europe and too many terrorist attacks, school shootings and natural disasters to list. The stories have become more socially driven, the truth less easy to find, the work more important than ever.
In preparing to leave, I spent time looking through my files and rediscovered just how far we’d come in a fairly short time. I found strategies and product concepts that never got off the ground – and many more that did. I also unearthed org charts going back to 2013, scrolling through them to see 20 name boxes jump to 30, 50 and 60 in number. Hiring and developing the careers of roughly 40 social journalists has been the most valuable experience in my time at Storyful. I’ve seen kids fresh out of university become disinformation experts, traditional journalists rediscover their passion in a new medium and newbies become mentors, editors and managers.
Much like the current generation of leading social journalists working in the industry, I wholeheartedly believe the next generation of social journalists will also be powered by Storyful. I’m so lucky to have been able to be a part of it.
It wouldn’t be an obligatory farewell blog post without some words of thanks.
- To David Clinch, for introducing me to Storyful, first as a fellow social journalist, then later as a client and recruit – and for his constant support every step of the way.
- To Mark Little and Aine Kerr for bringing me into this team and providing the inspiration for why we do what we do.
- To Rahul Chopra for showing me how to grow and giving me room to do so.
- To Toby Bochan for sharing every win, burden and milestone as we grew this team together.
- To Mike Hess for continually making me look smarter than I actually am.
- To Aifric Iremonger Mooney for keeping me from losing my mind (and keeping the proverbial trains running on time).
- To the Storyful journalists – past and present – for everything they have taught me.
- And to Dublin for giving me a second home that will never be far from my thoughts.