For nearly 16 weeks, I’ve had the pleasure of editing and moderating Click on Wales. As someone who has written for Click, and read it religiously for a number of years (my morning routine has been totally thrown out now I read Click articles in advance), things look and feel really different behind the scenes.
Click is the voice of its daily authors, not the IWA, and is a huge body of content charting public debate in Wales. Part of the reason I’ve read daily articles from Click on Wales for years is the variety of issues, and angles, it covers. As someone who was previously immersed in a very particular policy field, Click was an easy way to learn something different about issues affecting Wales over my first cup of tea each day. It was a way to broaden my understanding of different issues, and to hear from voices who were new to me.
Now I’m editing Click on Wales, variety is something I’ve started to think about much more closely: from theme, to topic, to author. Click on Wales is a platform for independent debate and comment. Its purpose is to act as a catalyst, generating and further developing intelligent and constructive debate about Wales’ present and future. Its use and value as a platform is inherently linked to the range and quality of views expressed, whether through articles or comment.
The range of contributions is potentially an easier one to get a handle on. So far this year we have published over 220 articles. Brexit and the EU has been the headline topic in at least 15 articles, and part of the narrative in many others. Around 35% of the articles published were authored by women, meaning we have more work to do to make sure the platform is appropriately gender-balanced. We know where we are, and are committed to improving on it.
There’s much more analysis to do. I’ll be looking at issues including diversity, political affiliation, geographic location (both within and outside Wales), number of individual authors, and the variety of issues discussed, to enable us to hold ourselves to account on ensuring that Click on Wales hosts a wide range of voices.
Quality is arguably harder to quantify, but equally as important. When making editorial decisions on articles to publish I look immediately for relevance to Wales and its people. I also look for ideas, evidence and scrutiny. It sounds obvious, but it’s important: I look for things that are intelligible and well-written. Similarly with comments, I’m looking for contributions which are constructive, further the debate and are coherent. A bit of a whinge is understandable, but the purpose of the IWA is make change happen, so we want ideas as well.
Click is taking a well-earned break for August, when many people are also taking a rest and content will likely slow down. I’ll be using this time to plan for the year ahead, and further developing policy ideas from our networks.
Click will be back in September: refreshed, revived and ready to host more constructive, influential content that informs public and political debate in Wales and reach places that it hasn’t reached before. If you haven’t already written for us – why not? If you’re unsure about how to do it – get in touch. We have guidance for new voices.
We are already sought out as a source of informed comment and opinion – we want to leverage this to its full extent on behalf of Wales. The challenges are such that Click on Wales has never been more needed.