We here at Thanet Star would like to recognise the achievements of Kathy Bailes with The Isle of Thanet News.
When Thanet Star started, we would periodically recognise the achievements of others by issuing a Rising Star of Thanet award. Now seems an appropriate time to revisit that habit. Who better to receive the first honours than Kathy Bailes?
Kathy Bailes is an experienced journalist with 13 years experience working in Kent regional press. In March of 2017, Kathy quit her job as a news editor to start the digital news outlet The Isle of Thanet News.
Kathy lives in Thanet and studied at Canterbury Christ Church University.
About The Isle of Thanet News
Kathy’s blog quickly obtained quite an impressive following on social media. The Isle of Thanet News twitter account has already garnered over a thousand followers (fast catching up with Thanet Star). Likewise, the blog is seeing similar success on Facebook.
Of particular note was the way Kathy handled an interview with Tory defector to UKIP Chris Wells. When Wells agreed to an interview, Kathy turned it into an opportunity for the public to grill the then leader of Thanet District Council. Kathy offered the public an opportunity to post questions to the Facebook page which she then put to Wells (who in my opinion gave very lacklustre answers).
Wells poor answers notwithstanding, Kathy achieved a first with that interview. Putting questions that people care about to our politicians is to be applauded; if possible, also repeated.
When I first started Thanet Star – coming up on eleven years ago – it was because I felt Thanet needed more variety in digital reporting. Variety keeps journalism honest. With too few news sources, there is a danger that the political narrative will be skewed by the opinion of editors. Kathy’s blog reduces that danger.
While Thanet has seen a lot of different blogs – something that I feel is healthy – we have always lacked a broad news source. Until now. In that respect, Kathy has knocked it out of the park. I might not have been the one to bring the level of reporting that I wanted for Thanet but it refreshing to see others making that same effort.
Not only has Kathy brought a whole new level of journalistic skill and integrity to Thanet blogging, but so much more. Not only, as mentioned, an opportunity for the public to interview a local politician; she has also created a platform for new talent.
In the past, newspaper opinion columns have tended to be dominated by the same tired voices. The Isle of Thanet News has, with its opinion section, open things up to fresh and interesting writers. For example, local author Matthew Munson.
Please join with me in applauding Kathy Bailes for her efforts. Let us hope that The Isle of Thanet News stays with us for many years to come.
Our contributions to The Isle of Thanet News
When the Isle of Thanet News launched I was personally very excited (in case you could not tell already). I approached Kathy with an offer to write for the site. Kathy accepted.
My very first editorial for The Isle of Thanet News was on a topic that I had never written about before and yet had been thinking about for some time. The role of pubs in British culture.
Next, I addressed one of my favourite topics, disagreeing with local politicians that I feel have missed the point. This post was one that Kathy made me rework and, I have to say, it came out so much better because if it. Kathy knows her stuff, that is for sure.
I have thoroughly enjoyed working with a (far) more experienced editor. I hope to not only offer Kathy my services in the future but to one day welcome her as a contributor to this blog.
Keep up the great work Kathy.