Freelance Journalist

April 17, 2023 (Updated )

Having been a reporter, foreign editor, international editor, and the editor of Voices at The Independent, it’s safe to say that Chris Stevenson has a whole lot of experience under his belt.

But, after more than two decades at the outlet, what keeps him curious? We catch up with Stevenson — now The Independent’s premium editor — about what his current role entails and how young journalists can follow in his footsteps.

My Day Starts At…

My shift pattern changes between being in at 8am or in at 10am. In my current role, I have to do less of the early morning editing but, in general, I’ll be up at 7am reading through the news, whether that’s on the tube or over my breakfast. From [then], I’ll start putting together a list of ideas for an early conference.

I use those early mornings to get a sense of what everyone else is doing and what we’re going to take for my particular element. Part of my new role is that I get involved in a number of departments because I manage the subscription content — the premium content — so, I will start making the decisions about what will be going behind the paywall for the day, and what won’t.

Journo Resources
Journo Resources

Chris (L) put together the foreign pages for the last print edition of The Independent (R)  in 2016.

At 11:30am, we have a main conference where we decide the subject of the leader and other things under my remit. The rest of the day, we have meetings about strategy — particularly in terms of what we want to move forward with subscriptions, how the editorial mix is working, and what people are reading.
Further [on] through the day, there’s obviously more copy to deal with before any round-off meetings and I’m out the door.

I Always Thought I’d Be…

I wanted to be a journalist! The one job I actually wanted was foreign editor of The Independent.

I’ve been very very lucky to get into the place and stick around. I can’t see myself doing anything else.

The Thing Which Surprises Me Most About My Job Is…

I wouldn’t say nothing surprises me anymore, after having seen various wars across various places and numerous political elements like the Trump win and Brexit. Journalism, as a whole, doesn’t always do a good job of predicting. I think what still keeps me curious is that it’s a changing canvas.

Journo Resources
“Journalism, as a whole, doesn’t always do a good job of predicting. I think what still keeps me curious is that it’s a changing canvas.”
Chris Stevenson, premium editor at The Independent

I’ve done a lot of coverage of this government and it’s ever-changing, there [are] so many U-turns in a particular space of time. I really enjoy that I can just walk in the door and not know what I’m going to pick up.

If People Wanted To Follow In My Footsteps, I’d Say…

You need to have a good idea that this is what you want to do. In terms of hours and pay, there are easier jobs out there. If you really want it then make sure you’re working as hard as you can. I think that gets people a long way.

And just never stop asking questions — whether that’s people you want work from, [or] people you want experience from. I’m a firm believer of the ‘if you don’t ask, you won’t get’ philosophy. Sometimes you’re not gonna get an answer but sometimes you will.

This Is Part Of Our Day In The Life Series

Ever wanted to get behind the scenes with journalists already working in the industry? Our ‘day in the life‘ series speakers to a huge range of journalists to tell you how they got where they did. Recently, we’ve heard from:

Chandni Sembhi, Senior Producer at PinkNews
Lewis Goodall. Previously of BBC Newsnight
Helena Horton, Environment Reporter at The Guardian
Nick Stylianou of Sky News

Elizabeth Train-Brown
Elizabeth Train-Brown

Elizabeth (she/they) currently works as an online content creator for Green Lancaster. As an English Literature and Creative Writing student who has won multiple awards for their investigative articles and interviews, she has had work in The Tab, Student Beans, Red Table Talks, and was the associate editor of SCAN Lancaster before finishing as head of design and marketing.