</My Life in Digital>
By Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff, Head of Editorial at gal-dem magazine
“There are so many young people with an interest and talent for digital, so being able to shift perceptions in this space is really important.”
I’ve always been a bit obsessive when it comes to my computer. Growing up, I was one of the first kids to have a computer in my room. It was gifted to me by a family friend who was a coder of some kind, and I’d spend endless evenings after school playing a game called Neopets and chatting on MSN (an old-school messaging site). I also used to write for hours on primitive versions of Microsoft Word, sketching out stories set all over the world, from Pakistan to Scotland, which is where I lived growing up. Looking back, this all formed the beginnings of my career as a digital journalist and editor.
Although I believe that making connections with people in real life is important, as the Head of Editorial for gal-dem magazine, digital is at the forefront of what I do professionally. It’s also how I choose to communicate and how I enjoy spending my time.
Every day I’ll spend time across all different social media platforms, from Twitter and TikTok to Reddit and Instagram, seeking out fresh voices and content. I’ll also spend time tweaking basic code on our website to get it to appear in the way I want it to. Every now and then, I might even stumble across an interesting lead on a story that I’ll want to investigate further. And of course, I am in almost constant communication with my colleagues and friends – sending memes, funny tweets and cat videos.
As I know from looking after a platform which caters to marginalised and minority voices, digital spaces have been vital in creating a community for people who usually wouldn’t be able to find each other. Yet amongst the readers and networks that we speak to, there are definitely still barriers that discourage people from digital education and entering the industry. I see first-hand that there are so many young people from minority groups who are passionate about digital. In order to include them, we need to shift perceptions in this space so we don’t miss out on new talent and continue to create an industry that is not reflective of society.
That’s why it’s so important that initiatives such as the CTRL Your Future campaign continue to have a fresh and disruptive approach when welcoming diverse groups into digital education, as well as pushing the industry to focus more on diversity and inclusion.
My life is lived in the digital sphere and I’m proud to be a part of a new generation of journalists who understand how to communicate and look for stories online in a way that the previous generation can struggle to understand. The most exciting thing about the digital world is that there is still so much to learn, but we need to make sure a more diverse generation are empowered enough to do so first.
Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff has partnered with the Institute of Coding on their CTRL Your Future campaign to encourage a more diverse group of young people into digital careers through higher education.
For more information on how you can choose your own pathway and reboot the system, click here: https://instituteofcoding.org/courses/search/