Each month we like to find a leading figure in tech, employment, or business and find out what drives them, and hopefully get some insight into the secret of their success. This week, we speak to Hugh Fort, a leading journalist for Reach Plc for 17 years, and now leads the team at What Jobs News.
Name: Hugh Fort
Birthplace: Ascot, Berkshire
Hugh, welcome to What Jobs News. You have been working as a journalist for many years now. How did you get into the industry?
Both my parents are journalists.
My dad worked for the BBC and is now a published author, and my mum became legendary in local news circles around Berkshire, England.
Even in retirement, she remains the only person in the country to claim they enjoyed sitting through a Reading Borough Council Audit and Governance Committee meeting.
I studied journalism in the city of Sheffield, completing a year-long NCTJ training course where you learned every aspect of journalism.
After 18 months of dreadful temp jobs around the Reading area in the early 2000s, an opportunity came up to work at the Bracknell Standard, a lovely little free newspaper circulated to thousands of people in the local area.
I stayed with Guardian Media, which was bought by Trinity Mirror, which then became Reach PLC for nearly 18 years in a variety of roles.
I’ve seen the transition from print into online first hand and spent the final part of my time at Reach working as a reporter on the BerkshireLive news website.
You have recently joined the team at What Jobs News. What do you do daily, and how is it different from your last role at Reach Plc?
It’s very different from life as a local reporter, where you’re constantly dealing with breaking news, such as crashes on the motorway, fires, police incidents, and producing content for the website for the longer term.
The day-to-day here doesn’t have as much of that, but involves reading, editing a lot of content from our writers, having daily calls, and discussing our content strategy for What Jobs and What News.
I also work on my own stories, review analytics, push social media, and now preparing to launch the upcoming Careers Centre project.
After doing a little background research on you, I see you are into Rugby and Soccer. But which comes first and why?
Rugby all the way.
I find it a much more exciting sport than football.
I was a Reading FC season ticket holder for many years and I’ve sat through more terrible 0-0 draws than anyone should have to, so it’s rugby for me.
What is your preferred writing method when it comes to producing employment news?
I use the same principles I learned over the years at Reach PLC to write our content.
The who/what/why/where/when rule of news stories is being applied to our content.
Whatever it’s about, a news story needs to be punchy, engaging, and present information in a simple-to-understand manner.
What do you like to do outside of the office?
I like walking around the village where I live, and I also enjoy cooking and going out to eat.
I’m a bit of a nerd, so I enjoy movies from the 1980s and 1990s. I think Game of Thrones is probably the best TV show ever made, just beating Red Dwarf.
I’m also a HUGE fan of WWE wrestling. I’ve watched since I was a kid and still enjoy the wacky action, and yes, I’m very aware it’s not real! Sometimes at least….
If you had not chosen the life of a journalist, what would you do instead?
It’s a difficult question to answer as it was all I ever wanted to do but had someone asked me to go to America to become a writer for the WWE, that would have been pretty cool.
I always think being a tree surgeon looks like tremendous fun, which is about as far you can get from journalism.
If you had a time machine and could travel back or forwards, which year would you set the dial to and why?
If I had a time machine, I’d insist on making numerous trips!
I think I’d go back to 1997 and re-live the British and Irish Lions winning rugby tour to South Africa as a phenomenal childhood memory.
I’d also love to go back millions of years to the time of the dinosaurs to see if they’re all they’re cracked up to be.
And if I’m being selfish, I’d love to go forward 100 years to see what the world is like, in terms of tech, the environment and whether Reading FC has got back in the Premier League.
So what can we expect from What Jobs News in the coming 12 months?
The latest employment news around the US jobs market with an increased focus on the world markets. You can also expect to see many new features and analyses covering all aspects of recruitment, and a great user experience alongside the rest of the website.
And what are the plans beyond that?
We’re are going to expand with more news in different countries, possibly even in other languages as the project develops over time.
If you were advising the 18-year-old version of Hugh Fort, what would you say to him?
Do better in your A-Levels, learn one thing about how to look after a car, travel more and, yes, it does get worse after you reach 40.
What advice would you give to up-and-coming journalists who may be reading this interview?
Keep on top of changes in social media, learn about SEO and get used to speaking on camera. It’s a lot more than just writing stories.
Let us finish off on a lighter note. Tell us a joke!
What do you call a fish with no eyes? A fsh.