An advocate for good information, ethical technology and diverse leadership, currently the first PhD candidate supported by the World Association of News Publishers, looking at the environmental impact of news media. Highlights include bringing ‘civictech’ stories to millions through business and consumer media, including working as an editor for the New Statesman, creating a flagship public speaker training programme for women in tech in the North, called Northern Voices, and launching a British Podcast Award-winning podcast for the New Economics Foundation think tank.
Recent work includes creating Standup For Journalism, a comedy training and performance night offering journalists a new way to talk about the public interest, and acting as an advisor to the UK government’s Future News Fund. Cyclist.
A little more..? Oh go on then!
For five years, I worked as a technology journalist in London covering mobile, startups and tech giants. Before many people knew these issues were coming, I focused on ethical questions of technology, such as its economic, environmental and social impact. This included creating a standup comedy show with Science Showoff and writing the final chapter of a book about the 50-year history of Hackney.
In 2015, alongside working as a journalist, I created a jargon-busting, award-winning podcast for the New Economics Foundation think tank, the Weekly Economics Podcast. Among many other things, it has looked at the joy of tax, how to stop people flying and feminist economics.
We even put this mini-series about neoliberalism on the syllabus at an unnamed London university and the pod was reviewed in the Guardian.
In 2016, on International Women’s Day, I launched a public speaker training and performance programme for women in tech in the North, called Northern Voices, to change the conversation about technology and digital jobs. For this work at government-backed Tech North, I was added to the Northern Power Women Future List.
After this, I worked as the first community organiser in UK journalism, helping the Bureau of Investigative Journalism’s award-winning local investigation project Bureau Local open its files to the public.
While working in communications for radical northern reading charity The Reader in 2019, I led weekly heritage tours of the newly opened Mansion House headquarters, making 5,000 years of local history fun and funny for the public.
I also studied for my Masters during this time, creating a comedy training and performance programme for journalists to help them talk about the public interest, called Standup For Journalism, with the support of Science Showoff Manchester.
Sharing my research results, I spoke at the World News Media Congress in 2019, who thought I was mad, and then I asked, in a fun way, whether comedy could save journalism at a Hacks/Hackers event in London.
In the same week, I chaired Talk UX, by Ladies That UX, in Manchester. One of their organisers, Llara Geddes, said:
Kirsty joined us at Talk UX in 2019 as compere. What a great choice she was. Funny, knowledgeable, engaging. She has an easy way and styles (boom, boom) out anything that needs to be covered (tech issues, delays etc.) with aplomb.
In October 2019, I started my PhD, looking at the environmental sustainability of ‘the media’ at the University of Central Lancashire, backed by the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers.
After winning my university’s social science research presentation competition 2020, I took my project to ‘the stage’ during lockdown, as part of a research project with Nottingham Trent University called News on Stage.
The organiser, Catherine Adams, said:
Kirsty is a truly professional performer whose work is full of wit, humour and integrity. I was lucky enough to work with her when she performed for my News on Stage project with her highly original and rigorously researched piece, ‘Ten Minutes to Save the Planet’. She was a joy to work with and her stage presence, even over Zoom, made her piece one of the most popular items on the night, according to our audience surveys. She is pitch-perfect and conveys her message brilliantly, with nuance and passion. And crucially, what she says is important! Give this woman a stage!
Because of my varied expertise across media, technology and society, in early 2020, I acted as a selection advisor for Nesta’s government-backed Future News Fund.
I edited a book during lockdown, called Tracksuits, Traumas and Class Traitors, by D. Hunter – and edited another in 2022, Reorganise: 15 stories of workers fighting back in a digital age.
In 2020, I started lecturing in journalism at the University of Huddersfield. I am also a trained ride leader with the Aigburth Community Cycle Club and our representative on the Merseyside Cycling Campaign initiative.
Check out my LinkedIn for my latest adventures in 21st-century capitalism.