This is The Flock with Jennifer Crichton
If you’re new here, welcome – this is a newsletter all about what it means to be a feminist in today’s mad world. But if you’ve been part of The Flock for a while, you’ll know that’s only half the story. Shall we recap?
I’m Jen, and five years ago, I was editing glossy magazines in the even glossier city of Dubai. It all looked great – on Instagram. Reality was less rosy and a year or so later, in the midst of a painful divorce, I migrated homewards, landing with a bump in a windy little Scottish seaside town with a suitcase and a pre-schooler in tow. The ship carrying my worldly possessions crashed, leaving all of my belongings in the sea (yes, including my editor’s wardrobe) and I found myself quite literally starting again from scratch, trying to find my stride as a single mum and jobbing freelancer. Then Covid hit and, like so many of the brilliant female writers I worked with, I lost all of my work overnight.
With little guaranteed income and women being forced out of the journalism industry in their droves, drastic action was required – and my solution became The Flock. For two years, I ran an advertising-free online magazine offering daily news, views and interviews from a fiercely feminist and intersectional perspective. We paid more than 50 diverse writers. We won multiple awards. We went viral. We made headlines. It was a lot of fun, at first – but then it was scarily expensive and stressful. Turns out, ad-free ethical media isn’t a hugely profitable business. Who’d have thought?
What’s more, as Instagram’s algorithm imploded and Twitter became increasingly unfathomable, we lost a lot of our ability to communicate as a Flock. I wanted to hear your voices, to form a community, to discuss the issues that mattered to us all, but the website didn’t offer us that freedom.
Thankfully, we all know that flocks are excellent at changing direction…
So, what’s next?
While the numbers didn’t quite add up for a standalone website offering daily content, The Flock’s thousands of readers proved there is an appetite for a kinder, more honest approach to women’s media – one with less gloss, more grit. That’s why the site lives on here, where I’ll be continuing to muse on the good, the bad, and the downright inexplicable truths of modern womanhood in a world on fire.
Making this shift is scary – change always is. But the joy of this particular pivot is that now, things can get much more personal as we build a genuine community. From menopause to (second) marriage, career panic to parenting, over the last few years I’ve become a master of taking life’s lemons and making something moreish, and it’s these experiences I plan to share with you now, in addition to the news-led opinion columns that have set social aflame over the last few years.
I’ll be writing to all of our subscribers about an issue on my mind at least once a week and this new platform allows us to get much closer than the website ever could…
But why pay?
In short, because words are worth paying for – but also because you’ll get lots of extras if you do!
I started The Flock because I believe good writing can be a force for change. For connection. For education. For equality. I still believe that is something worth paying for. But in trying to build an ethical media model that paid dozens of freelancers each month I forgot about one crucial piece of the puzzle – myself.
I became so busy juggling tech updates, edits and social media platforms that I didn’t give myself space to enjoy the ride, let alone to write as often and as freely as I wanted to. Now, by going back to the original mission – honest writing that sparks conversation about the world around us – I hope to change that, and get to know you much better in the process. And that is where your support comes in. Paying subscribers will get access to a veritable feast of exclusive content, debate and discussion – specifically, there’ll be more audio, more interviews, weekly community conversations, exclusive guest writer posts and lots more besides. We’re becoming a Flock in the truest sense of the word, and I’m incredibly excited about the possibilities…
The Flock with Jennifer Crichton is a reader-supported publication. To receive every post and support my work, consider becoming a paid subscriber for £5 a month or £50 a year.
With all that said, paying isn’t the only way you can help, particularly right now when times are so tough. Spreading the word will also go a long way and I’d be so grateful if you could introduce me to friends you think would enjoy this space. You can recommend us by clicking below…
Lastly, if you have a friend or family member who you think would fancy being part of The Flock, you can also gift them a subscription by clicking here…
So, in summary, The Flock is dead – long live The Flock. Let’s start over, shall we?