“Rather than dwelling over what we are losing, I hope that we can be proud of what we have achieved so far, and use that to develop something even more meaningful for young journalists across the globe.”
In August 2013, I stumbled upon a website that would change my life.
That website, of course, was the IPF – and over the years I have watched it grow from strength to strength. I was given the chance to take over the website, put together an incredible team, and develop a platform that actually made a difference to the lives of young journalists around the world. What could be better?
But as the IPF approached its fifth birthday, there were some questions that needed to be answered.
We had given hundreds of young people the chance to create a portfolio of work that they were proud of, provided budding journalists with advice and skills that have prepared them for their first steps in the media industry, and put together some of the most engaging events about issues our audience was passionate about.
We began to wonder what the next steps were. What comes next?
The truth is, we had reached our max. Those were the aims we had set out to achieve, and we had achieved them. As things stand, we couldn’t see how to take things to a new level.
Were we offering young journalists as much as we could possibly offer? Yes. Are there ways to offer them a lot more? Yes, but not under the IPF as it exists today.
So, in June 2017, the IPF will publish its last article. As heartbreaking as it is, any successful project must know when to call it quits. Rather than dwelling over what we are losing, I hope that we can be proud of what we have achieved so far, and use that to develop something even more meaningful for young journalists across the globe.
So. Where do we all go from here?
At the end of an era, we must reflect and then move on to bigger and better things. That’s exactly what the team and I intend to do. Whether we move on together, or decide to explore separate paths, you haven’t seen the last of us.
As for our contributors, we have no doubt that they will go on to become some of the greatest journalists and storytellers out there. Their passion for what they do is what kept the IPF going for five years, and that isn’t to be taken lightly. We have watched them pitch some of the most unique stories and take on feedback like pros, improving every step of the way. Our decision to close down the IPF would be a lot more “bitter” and a lot less “sweet” if we weren’t confident that they are ready to take their skills into the real world.
Having said that, we want our contributors to know that that the IPF team is still here. Should you need any advice about the industry, any feedback on an article idea, or just someone to vent to about the frustrations of being a journalist, we are still here. You can always reach out to us, even if our emails don’t have a fancy “@the-ipf.com” at the end of it.
Most of all, I urge every single one of our contributors to keep writing. Keep using your skills to seek out injustice and change the world through your words.
The IPF might not be here to publish your work, but there are a number of people and publications out there who will. And if they don’t, publish it yourself! Start a blog and write. You don’t need anyone’s approval to do what you love.
Finally, I want to thank every single one of you who have been involved with the IPF as contributors, partners, readers or long-time supporters. You have proved that journalism doesn’t need to be a vicious cycle of competition and gossip. You have helped kickstart a momentum of peer-to-peer support for young journalists. You have told, and supported, incredible stories of humanitarianism, people power and resilience for a better world. You have made us believe in the power of the media once again.
It is this belief that has instilled in the IPF team a passion for youth journalism. We have seen how aspiring journalists, when given the right tools, can uncover stories the mainstream media often overlook – important stories, ones that deserve to be read worldwide. This belief in youth journalism isn’t gone; we aren’t giving up on it yet. To do so would be our biggest mistake. Keep writing, and I promise our paths will cross again in the very near future.
On a final note, it seems only appropriate to end with this great quote from Robert Fisk:
“In the end, we journalists try – or should try – to be the first impartial witnesses of history. If we have any reason for our existence, the least must be our ability to report history as it happens so that no one can say: ‘We didn’t know – no one told us’.”