Greg Tingle: How did you break into journalism and media?
Richard Powell: "I literally broke into journalism in professional terms when I marched into the offices of the Sunday Mirror at Canary Wharf in London one night. I had a good story and I needed to find a reporter who would look at it. It was about 9.30pm and having been turned away from The Independent, a couple of floors above, I was pleased to find a Sunday Mirror journalist working a night shift who was comparatively hospitable. His eyes lit up when he heard the ex-Chilean dictator, General Augusto Pinochet, who was under arrest in London, had flown in ‘supporters’ from Santiago to stand outside Parliament waving placards demanding his release.
"Only they were normal citizens rather than supporters; temped by the lure of a expenses paid holiday to London with a bonus of being paid £9 for every hour they protested against the General’s arrest.
"Days later the paper ran the story as a world exclusive. It dealt a heavy blow to pro-Pinochet supporters’ credibility in the UK. The Sunday Mirror paid well for the story and the new relationship lead to further work in Kosovo the following year."
Greg Tingle: What are your prime aims and objectives?
Richard Powell: "As a journalist, my fundamental aims are to keep my copy original, respect my sources, deliver what I’m expected to when I’m expected to and be objective. No matter how busy I am or what conditions I’m working under, if I’m really enjoying what I’m doing and coming up with the goods I’m expected to then most of the time reporting doesn’t even seem like work. It rarely fails to reward, even if you’re the only one who knows it was you. How many professions can you say that about?"
Greg Tingle: What is the purpose of your website, which is about to launch in less than 24 hours?
Richard Powell: "Primarily, it is a showcase for the work of young reporters and reporters who are new to journalism, regardless of age. It’s a global platform for stories that are professionally written, interesting to others and valuable to the rest of the world, either to inform or engage debate. The articles we feature are being made available to everyone where before, they might have just been put into a draw because an editor rejected it for x, y or z reason.
“I also hope the site will assist reporters in their approach to writing and interviewing, as the site entry level for submissions has been set very high. Some articles that are submitted will not make publication so I expect to have professionals guesting on the site from time to time who will show how specific stories should have been written to make them more attractive to editors.
"If a story we publish gets picked up externally then we will seek to get that reporter paid."