2015 was not a good year for me. I began 2016 screaming obscenities at the fireworks on telly, swearing this year would be much better. Oh, sweet, summer child – how little you knew!
Even without the unravelling of the world as we know it, I don’t feel like 2016 was a banner year for this Cresci. But, this may be because I am a person who is prone to ruts. At points this year, it felt like I’d never clamber out.
It would be easy for me just to write this year off, like I did 2015. Last year, I remember seeing my friends and colleagues compile their “things I was proud of this year” lists and thinking, nah, I haven’t written enough cool shit to do one of those. I didn’t want to do that again this year because I’ve done some work I am super proud of.
So, at the risk of looking like a total idiot, here are some things I did this year in between the hellfire of 2016’s news agenda.
When I got the email about Sianel Pump, I nearly turned it down because I am an idiot with some self-confidence issues. I’m so glad I didn’t – filming 5 Elena has been the highlight of my 2016.
Sat in a pub in April, I remembered the saga of Lonelygirl15, YouTube’s first big scandal. Then I realised it was going to be the 10th anniversary in June. I proceeded to screech at the other journalists around me that this was MINE ALL MINE. So yeah, I’m pretty happy with this one.
I live blogged Wales’ sensational victory against Belgium in the Euros in Welsh. It basically documents my 180 turn from moderate Welsh fan to someone who sings the Joe Ledley chant on the regular. I also did a follow up for Wales v Portugal, from a pub in Lisbon. When we lost, the Portuguese bought us a lot of shots. Oh, and Quartz ended up writing a really terrible guide to speaking Welsh based on my blog.
The Downing Street cat war
I started making some videos this year, including some for the Guardian’s social video team. This one is my favourite, though I can only take credit for the pitch and the script – the editing was done by my wonderful colleagues Fred McConnell and Ekaterina Ochagavia.
Early polling data released by YouGov on the day of the EU referendum showed 75% of young people voted to Remain. Turnout was about 65% among that age group. We used it as a hook to ask young readers how they felt about the result. We also set up a Tumblr to feature some of the hundreds of responses that had flooded into my inbox.
Midway through the year, my job changed, which means I haven’t done as many callouts as I have in previous years. This one, collecting stories from women who have been assaulted or harassed on public transport, is one of the last ones I did, and one I am particularly proud of.
This feels like an age ago now. Someone in Wales humorously defaced a Vote Leave sign so it read Vote Beaver. An enthusiastic local Leave campaigner was not happy and posted about it on Facebook. The rest is history. Also, some students in Aberystwyth dressed up as this and it’s the best thing to ever result from my journalism.
The internet is so weird. In the summer, the internet convinced itself YouTuber Marina Joyce had been kidnapped. Police were even called to her house. It was bizarre. I caught up with Marina and her mum Cheryl after the dust had settled.
Right at the beginning of the year, I took part in a big Guardian project about the NHS. I interviewed or commissioned around 20 people about a day the NHS saved their lives. This unearthed some incredible stories – from the woman whose partner stabbed her in the back to the junior doctor who almost died in a car crash.
Germany, we need to talk
I was lucky enough this year to be chosen as a delegate for the George Weidenfeld IJP fellowship, which sends British and German journalists to newsrooms in each other’s countries. I spent my time with the wonderful people at Zeit Campus in Hamburg. If anyone’s thinking of doing the fellowship, I would 100% recommend it. One of my aims for the fellowship was to try and make some videos. With the help of the super-talented Sophia Schirmer at Bento (a youth site run by Spiegel), I’ve got a mini-series in which I poke fun at Germany. The first one was about tea – the Germans who have got in touch with me so far have been incredibly polite about how wrong I am.
Here’s some things I’d like to do in 2017:
- make more videos
- explore more of weird internet
- AVOID RUTS LIKE THE PLAGUE
- rejuvenate my sewing blog (long-time readers will note I have begun on the layout…)
- build a bunker (I joke, but…)
Happy new year, friends.