Head of Content

April 28, 2023 (Updated )

When journalism is mentioned, most readers will think of publications that create content for everyday consumers. But that’s not all there is to the industry. Take, for example, the often-overlooked business-to-business outlets, that cater to organisations, companies, or other outlets. 

TTG Media is one such trade magazine, specialising in travel and aiming to make the industry a fairer one. Recently they appointed their first ‘chief purpose officer’, they turn down advertising from countries that don’t agree with their brand values, and are also overhauling their editorial guidelines on accessible and LGBTQ+ travel.

Launched as the Travel Trade Gazette in 1953, TTG was essentially the first weekly travel trade newspaper in the world. It continues to supply news about the travel industry today, to businesses such as travel agents, tourist boards, tour operators, and cruise lines

While working in the hectic newsrooms of big-name broadsheets may be the gateway dream for many an aspiring journalist, writing for B2B publications has its own unique perks and the capacity to create content that makes a difference. We speak to James Chapple, news editor at TTG, to find out more about the travel sector, his typical workday, and the pitfalls of trending content.

Journo Resources

My Day Starts At…

7am-ish. I like to get stuck in early to ensure we’re across all the major overnight and early morning news lines, and to take advantage of those quiet couple of hours before the day gets going properly at 9am.

My brain works a whole lot better first thing in the morning (and after a cup of tea — strong, one sugar please).

My Typical Day Involves…

We’re a monthly magazine, so early in the production cycle, I’m usually contributing to our web output and planning ahead for the next edition. Later in the cycle, the focus turns more towards the magazine — editing copy and keeping it flowing before we all pitch in with the proofing.

It’s a balancing act, though, and I’m always ready to put down tools and get to grips with a breaking story. I still live for those moments when your heart rate just increases by a beat or three.

I Always Thought I’d Be…

An Aston Villa player. Failing that, a mad scientist.

news editor james chapple headshot
James Chapple is the news editor at TTG Media — even though his first choice career would have been an Aston Villa player.

When I First Got This Job I Started By…

Getting to grips with some fairly lofty travel sector concepts at break-neck speed. Attempting to read the EU Package Travel Regulations was probably a mistake, in hindsight.

At the same time, I got a real buzz out of building new agent and tour operator contacts, coming into the sector relatively cold from a local press job. A few months in, I jetted off to New York for my first overseas trip, and I’ve enjoyed every moment ever since — even during those darkest days of Covid, we were never busier as a news team.

It got us through, and I’d like to think we were able to help some others through an incredibly tough time by turning our hands to, among other things, being amateur news anchors on Facebook for a spell.

I Am Most Proud Of…

The progress TTG has made over the past three years applying our “Smarter, Better, Fairer” philosophy to every aspect of our news output. It’s the cornerstone of everything we do; it’s really helped us find our voice and become a stronger advocate for the industry, its employees, the environment, and the wider world.

For instance, ahead of the World Cup, we weighed up the industry and our respective stances on Qatar. The main feedback we got back was just how fair the piece was — there could have been no greater compliment.

Journo Resources
“You deserve to be rewarded fairly for your efforts, and for those efforts to be recognised [...] It was part of the reason I eventually left the wonderfully bonkers world of local journalism.”
James Chapple, Travel News Editor

The Thing Which Surprises Me Most About My Job Is…

The lengths to which people in the travel sector — particularly travel agents and tour operators — will go to make things work for consumers and loyal clients, and just how much of an under-utilised resource these experts are. Covid has only served to further highlight this.

I recall during my very first week on the job speaking to an agent who jumped in their car to pick up a client and drive them across the country to their departure airport when the Beast from the East arrived.

My Job Improves The Travel Industry By…

Celebrating what it does best, such as through our annual TTG Top 50 Travel Agencies programme or The Travel Industry Awards by TTG, and assessing the progress it is making and where there is room for improvement, such as through our first Fairer Travel Sustainability and Fairer Travel Diversity forums this year.

The travel industry is making progress on these issues, but it is not doing so in unison or at the same pace, so it’s up to us to inform, counsel, and encourage businesses at different stages of this journey.

I Would Choose To Work In B2B Travel Over B2C Travel Because…

While I’ve previously worked in B2C media for a local newspaper group, I don’t have any experience working for a B2C travel title. But if I’m honest, I’m a newshound at heart.

I absolutely love to travel, and I appreciate there is also a great deal of fantastic B2C travel news writing and analysis, but writing about the act of travelling as a traveller is not for me on a regular basis — although I’m always happy to get away on a trip for our features section or a longer read in the mag.

My main interest is the hour-by-hour, day-by-day, week-by-week, month-by-month news cycle. Working for a B2B gives me a boisterous news patch to get stuck into, reporting on an industry that really is genuinely friendly, supportive, and dedicated.

news editor james chapple in norway
James on a press trip in Norway. (Image Credit: Supplied)

If I Could Start My Career Again…

I wouldn’t honestly change an awful lot. I’d definitely encourage anyone keen to go into journalism to either study or pursue something they are passionate about before looking to get into the industry, rather than taking a journalism undergraduate or equivalent training course, especially if it isn’t heavily skewed towards the practical side of the profession.

I perhaps wish I’d travelled more after my studies — maybe a ski season or two or some experience working abroad would have been beneficial. These were definitely opportunities I failed to pursue despite having the chance to do so.

I’d Be Wary Of…

Working for a business that doesn’t value you as an individual. No one goes into journalism to seek great riches, or in the expectation that it is a typical nine-to-five operation — at least, I hope they don’t! It’s a vocation that demands you to make sacrifices here and there, and one that can be hard to switch off from if you’re anything like me.

You deserve to be rewarded fairly for your efforts, and for those efforts to be recognised. I didn’t find that balance in my first role, and it was part of the reason I eventually left the wonderfully bonkers world of local journalism, although I should point out it was my excellent colleagues that kept me going as long as I did. I still firmly believe there is a future for the local newspaper traineeship route into journalism, but I do feel it is increasingly up to individual reporters to make the most of it.

I’m also very wary of the word “trending”. I absolutely understand there is a place for writing about what is “of interest” to people, in addition to what is in people’s interests to know, so to speak, but I do feel the balance has probably been affected by commercial needs. Trending roles also seem to be an increasingly common route into journalism, but I’d be wary about recommending anyone take this route as I’m not convinced by the grounding it provides compared with coming up through a junior or trainee reporter role.

Journo Resources
“Even if your heart is set on breaking big local, regional, or national news stories, [business-to-business media] gives you opportunities to come at things from a different perspective.”
James Chapple, Travel News Editor

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

Dabble in B2B and B2C. I’m coming up for five years at TTG, and I’ve been in journalism for more than a decade now, splitting my time almost equally between B2B and B2C media. Both have their merits, but I don’t have an awful lot of peers who have gone into B2C.

It certainly wasn’t in my plans until the opportunity arose, but it has in many ways been more rewarding than working for a local paper, and I suspect that balance will skew further towards B2C given the (sadly) fairly parlous state of local and regional media in the UK.

In short, even if your heart is set on breaking big local, regional, or national news stories, B2B gives you opportunities to come at things from a different perspective. And every once in a while, you’ll find you are one of only a handful of experts at the heart of the biggest story of the moment.

The Thing I’d Most Like To Change About The Industry Is…

If we’re talking about journalism, it would be to restore journalism to being about informing and educating people rather than [sowing] division.

If we’re talking about travel, the industry needs to get better at communicating what a great industry it is and the opportunities it offers people to build meaningful and rewarding careers.

After Work, I Usually…

Cook. It’s my go-to way to unwind, but I’m also becoming a reluctant runner after battling through Couch to 5K a year or so ago.

I also try to get to as many gigs as I can, music and comedy, and live sport too. Failing that, London is one of the best — if not the best — pub cities in the world, so you’ll find me there.

Catharina Cheung
Catharina Cheung

Catharina Cheung is Journo Resources’ Head of Content, responsible for writing, commissioning, and editing content across web and socials, driving editorial and social strategies, and mentoring junior writers. Hampshire-based by way of Hong Kong and Singapore, she is also a freelance writer, editor, and translator with senior editorial experience in digital and print.

Though writing widely across beats, Catharina primarily considers herself a culture writer with a special interest in heritage deep-dives and underrepresented people with stories to tell. Her work can be found in Bustle, Campaign Asia-Pacific, Localiiz, Humans of Hong Kong, Squarefoot magazine, and the Hong Kong Tourism Board.