After a very enjoyable period in-house at the Guardian, I’ve decided to re-enter the freelance realm.
I’ve loved the writing… and have been a very lucky boy. My meanderings took me to nudist protest beaches in Bulgaria, candlelit shanty towns in Uruguay, ancient workshops in Istanbul and lots of other places, via dozens of TwiTrips, when the public guided me in realtime around cities across Britain and beyond. It’s also been fascinating being inside the Guardian during one of the most eventful periods in its existence, through WikiLeaks, the phone-hacking scandal, and the admirable moves towards a ‘Digital First’ strategy.
Over the last year or so, I’ve especially loved the chance to work in the squidgy bit in between editorial and technology – experimenting with immersive video and Vimeo galleries in Tokyo, interactive city guides (which helped win Travel Website of the Year), zoomable panoramic images in the Lake District, and for one glorious afternoon, had thousands of readers playing Street Fighter II on the Guardian website (no link, don’t ask).
These editorial-developer collisions also inspired me to work on a few extra-curricular projects – Twitter mapping tool Kerouapp (as used by the Guardian here, here, and here) and news aggregator top5news (as written about here, here, here). It’s even made me want to learn a new language – I’m starting an intensive front end development course in a few weeks’ time.
I’ve become convinced that wonderful things happen when journalists and developers experiment and create things together, so that’s the direction I’m aiming in. Journalism’s current predicament – in a curious limbo between the old and the new – fascinates the crap out of me, and I want to make things in the middle of it.
If you do too, get in touch: benjilanyado[at]gmail.com
I’m also available for feature writing, consultancy, weddings and barmitzvas.