Adam Westbrook // ideas on digital storytelling and publishing

The last post

Posted in Adam by Adam Westbrook on October 4, 2012

After six years, 520 posts and who knows how many words, this is the last thing I’m going to write on this blog. 

It’s a decision I’ve been thinking about for almost a year and I’ve kept putting it off, partly because I still had things I wanted to figure out and share with you, and also because – believe it or not – this blog does make a bit of money!

But 2o12 has been a year of reflection and contemplation for me and ultimately of heading in new directions. Over the last few years my interests and passions have developed to the point where I now no longer think of myself as a journalist, but more of a producer and publisher. What I write about has gradually shifted from news to storytelling, to cinema to entrepreneurship, and I know that’s not what many of you come here for.

At the same time, how I think about creating stuff has changed and I want to focus my energy on building things that matter: films, magazines, books, businesses and more. Sadly a weekly blog post, and hours spent on Twitter don’t fit into that.

Parting gifts

I’ve spent some time bringing together 20 of my favourite pieces from the last few years and written five brand new ones, and put them all into a one-off collection. If you’re here for the first time and want the highlights this is for you, or if you want an intensive burst of ideas and inspiration in one sitting then I recommend it too. It’s completely free:  you can have the pdf right here, no email address or nuthin’.

Everything I’ve written on here will stay forever, for free. You can select just the video and storytelling posts or the entrepreneurship and creativity posts if you like, or just see what’s popular.

What next?

In a few months I’ll be leaving my life in London behind and seeking some new adventures. I’ll be heading to Paris in January and then to wherever the wind takes me. There is no plan or strategy, just embracing uncertainty, putting faith in having no plan.

I’ve got some bold new projects I want to start, some experiments I want to try and I’ll generally be gettin’ busy gettin’ messy. I’m still insanely passionate about creating insightful, intelligent and thought-provoking factual stories so a lot of my projects will be trying to solve this problem.

I’m also crazy about storytelling structure and visual storytelling and still have loads of questions about it. The response to the Inside the Story project earlier this year was awesome, and I have plans to develop it in early 2013, most likely in magazine form. If you’ve downloaded a free copy of the ebook, then you’ll hear about it later this year. Click here to get a copy if you haven’t already.

I’ll be location independent so I’ll still be working with clients in the UK and elsewhere and I’ll continue to be available for film, motion graphics and writing commissions. Click here to contact me about that. I’m also still consulting and training, and there are still a few spaces left on the next video journalism workshop in November. At the same time, if you’re an organisation committed to creating great narrative experiences anywhere in the world then drop me a line too, maybe we could work together one day.

Thank you

Finally, and most importantly, I want to say a huge thank you to you for reading all this over the years. You can double that thanks if you’ve ever left a comment after a post, triple it if you’ve retweeted, reblogged or shared a post, and quadruple it if you’ve ever bothered to send me an email. Knowing that something I’ve written has inspired another person, given them a new idea, or helped them do something awesome always puts a smile on my face.

After all this time blogging about journalism, what advice can I offer? Well, there’s a spot open for someone to share more new ideas about how journalism can be done better. If that appeals to you, then remember: be positive, not critical, share and inspire and above all be immensely generous.

Blogging is a great way to crystallise your own ideas and get feedback, not to mention a great way to learn, build a platform and a reputation. It worked for me and it was great fun, so go on, get busy writing. Here’s a series I wrote a couple of years back with advice on how to start your own blog.

Keep up!

I have honestly no idea what will happen next in my life but here are some ways you can keep up with whatever the hell does happen.

My Journal: I’ve slowly been building a personal online journal. Is it just another blog? Sort of, although it is really a blogazine, with each article individually designed, as a way for me to practice web design. It’s a 100% personal site, so if you’re interested in me as a person then take a look. Inspired by Robin Sloan’s brilliant tap essay I’m going to be making tributes to people, things, places and stuff that I really love.

My homepage: My main website is still there – it’s the best way to contact me.

Twitter: I’ll still be tweeting and tumblring, although a lot less frequently. This is my new publishing’s just a top co right now, but will develop more in the future. Still you can sign up to the mailing list if you really want.

• • •

And lastly, I’m not stopping this blog because I have lost faith in the future of journalism or the industry. Quite the opposite. In the lifespan of this website we’ve seen journalism hit hard, and its foundations thoroughly shaken. But the last two years have brought an energetic burst of new ideas, platforms and experiments from ordinary people that I’m certain will propel us through to a remarkable new age, where stories are told, ideas are spread and the truth always challenged.

If you ever despair, remember: we are just at the beginning. 


20 Responses

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  1. Ray Duff said, on October 4, 2012 at 9:45 am

    Enjoyed following your journey so far, Adam. Good luck in your new (ad)ventures!… Will continue to follow with much interest!

  2. Nick Petrie (@petren) said, on October 4, 2012 at 10:06 am

    Hi Adam,

    I’ve always enjoyed the blog and taken inspiration from it over the years. Sometimes it’s hard to put something down and walk away even when you know it’s probably the right thing to do. So well done for making a tough decision.

    Good luck with whatever comes next.

  3. Sarah Lewis said, on October 4, 2012 at 10:12 am

    I hope you continue sharing Adam, because just yesterday I introduced another bunch of students to your work. Best of luck.

  4. Claudio von Planta said, on October 4, 2012 at 11:19 am

    Hi Adam,

    Since we met in January 2011 I always followed your blogs with a lot of interest. I very much enjoy your entrepreneurial spirit and critical reflections. I recommended your tips & tricks for digital publishing and storytelling to many people. Congratulations to all your brilliant work and the generosity of offering everything for free to anybody interested in your know-how.

    Hopefully we will soon hear about your next ventures.

    Good luck and best regards,

    Claudio von Planta

  5. Stevie said, on October 4, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    It has been an absolute pleasure reading all your insights – thanks for all the inspiration, and the very best of luck!

  6. John Bagnall said, on October 4, 2012 at 3:03 pm


    I’ve greatly enjoyed reading your posts over the past couple of years. I’ve particularly appreciated your generosity in sharing your ideas and experiences in such an unusually open and sincere manner (as compared to some of the other blogs I follow).

    Please enjoy whatever the future brings. Good luck.

    John Bagnall

  7. Robin Rowland said, on October 4, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    Good luck and many thanks for the work you’ve done over the past few years. Always an inspiration, even for a semi-retired guy like me. Hope to eventually meet you in person one day—and if your travels ever take you to northwestern British Columbia, I have a nice big house with lots of spare rooms and an ocean view.(as well as a computer filled basement office 🙂 )

  8. behnnie said, on October 4, 2012 at 7:45 pm

    Wow! Big changes are a’brewin’! Or rather “have been” brewin’ all along I guess. 🙂 Very excited for the new direction you’re taking as far as your online work. Looking forward to those few-and-far-between Tweets to see what you’re up to these days. Here’s to Paris being wonderful to you!

  9. modfildes said, on October 4, 2012 at 7:56 pm

    Hi Adam, sorry to see you go but hopefully on to a more fantastic future. I’ve really enjoyed your articles and bought into your e books. They have given me a lot of inspiration into defying what is expected from a traditional route into journalism. I know that it will take some time but I’m sure that i will enjoy the journey because the rules are there to be bent/ twisted/ redefined/ barbed…just needs a bit of confidence. Hope every success comes your way.

  10. Karen Ducey said, on October 4, 2012 at 8:43 pm

    You will be missed! Thanks for all the informative and inspiring posts and ebooks. I learned a lot! Best of luck in your continued exploration of visual storytelling.

  11. Tracy Boyer Clark said, on October 5, 2012 at 12:35 am

    Wow – so beautifully written Adam. It’s fascinating to see us both make similar decisions after a similar amount of time blogging. You have certainly inspired and motivated me throughout the years and now I wish you nothing but the best in all that Paris and your new adventures and interests have to offer you. You’ll bet I’ll check in on you every once in awhile because I know great things will come from whatever you pursue with your talent, energy and forward-thinking enterpreneurial spirit. Best wishes and thanks for all that you contributed to this community in years prior!

  12. Emma said, on October 5, 2012 at 8:31 am

    Thank you for all this posts. They have been very revealing to me about the situation of Journalism. Good Luck, dear Adam! Fly with the wind and tell us where you are :-))

  13. mrsmoti said, on October 5, 2012 at 10:25 am

    Have come to your content quite recently and it’s fab. Good luck in your future adventures.

  14. Tina Remiz said, on October 5, 2012 at 10:00 pm

    Sad to hear this is the end of something that inspired me for the past year, but glad to know this is a beginning for something new and exciting for you. Best of luck! I look forward to seeing where the journey takes you!

  15. Jena Olson said, on October 6, 2012 at 1:22 am

    Best of luck to you Adam, I’ve always enjoyed reading your blog and can’t wait to hear about your new adventures.

  16. Katherine Blair (@canadiankath) said, on October 7, 2012 at 6:24 pm

    Wishing you lots of luck for your new adventures and thanks for the time you’ve given Leeds Trinity over the last couple of years. All the best!

  17. Tony P said, on October 9, 2012 at 6:14 am

    Adam thanks for the years of encouragements, honesty, and inspiration. Your voice will be missed in a online world up filled with alot of static…..

  18. david dunkley gyimah (@viewmagazine) said, on October 20, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    Dear Adam

    There is a video somewhere of a couple of Westmin students meeting young City journo at the Front Line Club. I’d love to find whatever happened to the City journo. Do let me know.

    There have been murmurings of the digizen What would it be like, some asked, when the Net generation truly got a hand on the web’s unique qualities and took on the broadcasters and traditional publishers?

    In many ways you answer those questions and sow the seeds of fear into one group and excitement to others, particularly in what would happen if there were many more Adams – a rather befitting name for your achievements in these new frontiers.

    Those expanding pixels you leased as space online to craft your theories will continue to grow, way pass your last digital tag proclaiming : “Adam woz ere”

    Hegel said knowledge decomposes, it has a lifespan. We acquire and then must discard as new knowledge usurps the old. The cut, the edit, the article, the form – what was necessary then, is no good now.

    You epitomise this and for that it’s no small wonder you’re showered with deserved praises. I know our paths will cross soonish and when it does we can look into how we can tell that City journo: “the boy done well”. And when we find him if he’s a tad unsure you can show him

    Cheers for now


  19. jodylan89 said, on November 3, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    Thank you! This blog has been an inspiration to many budding journalists!

  20. carlostorneropando said, on November 13, 2012 at 7:15 pm

    Reblogged this on Carlos Tornero Pando WordPress News.

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