Finding a Voice: Modern Journalism in the Digital Age

Written by


Published on

September 27, 2016
Time to read: 2 minutes


For our latest Talking Human video, Hook Research interviewed Phil Hilton – Editorial Director for Shortlist Media – about how the internet has had an impact on the voice of modern journalism.

Finding a voice in modern journalism

“I’m Phil Hilton – I’m the editorial director of Shortlist Media, and I’ve been here since the launch of this company. Journalism is hugely altered. I think, at core, you’re still coming up with lovely stuff for an audience, you’re just coming up with it for many different platforms now. There’s loads of great, distinctive voices at the moment and I think online really plays to that. There’s a current trend, I think, for very emotional writing: Certainly for the men, the big influence in the past was a Jeremy Clarkson-esque voice, which was a kind of ironic remove. And then people now are exploring very raw emotions in print, and they’re being funny and engaging on that level at the same time.”

Shortlist and Stylist mix elements of online and print journalism

“Shortlist and Stylist, I think, are real hybrids. They have elements of traditional journalism in them, but also they’re completely reinvented. For Shortlist we have something called the ‘Chosen Few’. This is a bunch of experts who select the best products in a specific category. That’s kind of a response to the web. This always comes back from research, especially from men, that they want edited choice, and this is a pure articulation of that.”

Modern Journalism and Shortlist - Hook Research

Engaging with your audience

“You have a constant communication with the reader through email and social media now, which is quite new. And we also do formal research to stay in touch with what they’re interested in – which I love. I love to hear where people are in their brains right now. The economy’s always changing, and their levels of confidence are always changing. What I love to do is to ask the audience really broad questions about their hopes and their dreams and what’s going on in their lives. And then, you’re notebook is always filled with ideas.

I always encourage the editors to focus on the audience. The big theme at the moment for audience is authenticity. I think what people want is an authentic and interesting conversation with you, and they want that to be molded for the individual social media platform that you happen to be on. So you just want to focus straight in on their lives and their interests at that moment in time.”

Enjoy this interview? Make sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook to stay up to date with what’s going on at Hook!


You should probably settle….

It’s Autumn which only means one thing – Married At First Sight (MAFS) UK on E4. Whilst undeniably entertaining, MAFS crystallises a point about dating and life made by Oliver Burkeman in his book Four Thousand Weeks. That point is that people should be more...

Spider-Man: The Ultimate Origin Story

In the vast universe of superheroes, one name stands out as an emblem of relatability, resilience, and redemptive power: Spider-Man. So, it makes sense that he's the cultural phenomenon we have chosen as this months Hook Top Trump! Since 1962, Peter Parker’s everyman...

A new era of Big Brother

When Big Brother launched last century it was totally new and authentic. Contestants had no idea that Big Brother would pull in huge audiences, and acted accordingly: some contestants were comfortingly humdrum feeding chickens and reading books; and some, like Nasty...

Hook’s Iconic Animated Male Leads for Kids

As promised, following last week's non- animated and animated iconic female leads we have the male leads. All of us at Hook Towers have collaboratively put these lists together in response to The Guardian's top 50 kids' shows to binge over the summer. There were so...

Creating Little Happy Learners with Sophie David

Little Happy Learners was founded by Sophie David, an ex primary school teacher and Early Years Foundation Stage specialist. Using her expertise in education, Sophie launched Little Happy Learners in 2019. She now has over 170k followers on her Instagram page, a...

Ninja Turtles: A Timeless Pop Culture Phenomenon

The world of pop culture is riddled with iconic characters, but few have stood the test of time quite like the Ninja Turtles.  And their blend of martial arts, mutant animals, heroism pizza eating and catchphrases.At its core, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has the DNA...

Team Hook’s Favourite Books

September is always a big month for parents and kids alike, because it always means one thing: back to school. There are a lot of things that can be associated with the start of a new school year; for kids it’s the excitement (and sometimes nervousness) of new...

Free Resources to Support Learning at Home

To help welcome children in primary aged groups back to school, we’ve put together ten free resources. These can be used at home to support your child with different areas of learning. Area of learning: Managing stress and worries Resource: @TheMindfulnessTeacher Age:...

Hook’s Iconic Non-Animated Male Leads for Kids

As promised, following our recent post and in response to The Guardian's top 50 kids' shows to binge over the summer... we have the non-animated male leads. A lot of tough choices and some disagreements here at Hook Towers... especially over The Suite Life of Zack and...

More posts in this category

get a digest of our latest thoughts delivered to your inbox


Don't Miss Out!

Each month, Hook's experts create a roundup of hot takes and insights into the Kids and Media industries...for free!

This information will never be shared with third parties