Waltham Forest Echo‘s new editor Elizabeth Atkin says hello, thank you and shares her plans for your independent community newspaper…
In 2014, I moved from my hometown of Newcastle to London with a clear goal in mind: to become a journalist.
Since then, I’ve covered everything from news and celebrity for national papers to health issues for specialist websites. Most recently, I ran the digital side of a much-loved travel magazine, providing useful guides, plenty of inspiration and fascinating stories about people from around the world.
I loved (maybe even lived) to travel. And I will again (when we can). But when Covid struck, like everyone else, I stayed local. It dawned on me quickly that so much of what I was looking for from travel – unusual places to visit, new cuisines to try, nature and wildlife, interesting people to meet and, of course, great stories to tell – was under my nose, at home, the whole time.
I’ve been in Leyton since July 2019. I like to think that fate brought me to the borough in the first place – initial plans to move here almost failed in dramatic fashion, after a Walthamstow rental fell through just three days before I was due to move in.
And I also like to think that being made redundant from that travel job was fate, too. Though crushing (and immensely worrying), it eventually led me to the job boards that advertised the position of Echo editor – just as previous editor, James Cracknell, was ready to focus on the Enfield Dispatch and his new role within Social Spider.
This editorship is a dream come true. A huge privilege, too, one I promise to take very seriously. And I am acutely aware that I have big shoes to fill. Along with many warm wishes and congratulations I have received from journalists, volunteers, community organisations and residents in the borough (thank you), I have also received many wonderful tributes to James for me to pass on.
Going forward, my plan for the Echo is simple: to keep bringing you news, to highlight Waltham Forest’s commendable people, cultural organisations and community initiatives – more vital than ever in these tough times – and to grow not only the print edition of the paper, but our online presence, too. Expect many changes to this website and our Instagram, Twitter and Facebook pages over the coming months.
If you feel like it’s the right time for you to get involved with the Echo – as a member, a contributor, a volunteer, or even with a letter – please get in touch. My inbox is always open: WFEcho@socialspider.com.
Follow Elizabeth on Instagram @elizabethkatkin