Lindsay with Enable’s office dog Winnie
Enable’s editor Lindsay Cochrane has been working on the magazine since its launch in 2011. Here, Lindsay tells us about her time working on the title
How did you get into journalism?
I’ve always loved writing, talking to people and I’m known for being exceptionally nosy, so journalism was the obvious career for me. When I was 16 and still at school (which was longer ago than I care to admit), I somehow managed to persuade the Daily Record newspaper here in Scotland to give me my own column. It was the ‘diary of a teenager’ and I used to write about things that mattered to me – mostly boys and not studying for exams! It gave me a real taste for the profession though and I went on to do lots of work experience, go to Strathclyde University where I studied French and journalism, and then found my way to Enable straight after graduating. That was five and a half years ago!
If I’m honest, it’s something I sort of fell into – but it makes complete sense that I’ve ended up specialising in this area. I have a disability myself – I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at 18, which has had a pretty big impact on my life – and I’ve always had an active interest in human rights and social justice. I interned at INSP (the International Network of Street Papers) on my gap year between my undergraduate degree and postgrad, so I knew that when I finished studying, I wanted to use my skills as a journalist to help represent those who are often forgotten about, to share their stories and make sure that they’re getting access to information and advice to help them take a step forward. I get to do all of that in the disability marketplace.
What does your role as editor involve?
It’s a really varied role and no two days are the same. Overall, I’m responsible for managing our writers and designer and I’m in charge of the editorial – the articles – in the magazine, making sure we get the right sort of content and we meet our deadlines.
How do you come up with ideas for the magazine?
I work with our staff writer Kirsty McKenzie to make sure everything we’re doing is relevant. As soon as we send one magazine to print, we get onto planning the next one, so we’ll brainstorm with the advertising sales team to see what sort of thing is going on in the sector, what’s happening in the news and what’s relevant at that time of year. We’ll head onto social media to see what our followers are talking about, get in touch with our contacts at charities and disability organisations across the UK, take a look at what research is going on – and we always make sure we’re speaking to experts and people who know their stuff within disability too.
Why do you think Enable is important?
When I was first diagnosed with Crohn’s, it was a total shock. Being told that you’re going to have to adapt the way you live your life is a lot to take on, especially when you’re only 18. I felt a bit lost and alone, if I’m honest. I’d gone from being out with my friends and not having a care in the world to taking lots of medication, altering my diet and seriously reconsidering my future career plans (fortunately, I decided to keep on track with the journalism idea) – and I felt a bit different all of a sudden. I think Enable plays a really important role for people with disabilities and carers, because it lets people know that they aren’t alone, that other people are facing similar challenges to themselves, and there is help and support out there. I also think it gives disabled people and carers a voice too – we share stories from people right across the country, facing different challenges, experiencing exciting triumphs, and it gives them the platform they deserve to talk about the issues that matter to them. I hope that people get to the end of an issue of Enable having learned something they didn’t know before or inspired to make a change in their own lives.
Is Enable the only magazine you work on?
No – we work on two other titles from our office, Source for students in Scotland and Teachers’ Resource for Scottish high school teachers. Alongside those, we produce a number of one-off special editions that tie in with Enable too – because six issues a year isn’t enough! This year, we produced NOVA, for people who are new to disability, Enable Motoring, Enable – The Scottish Issue, Enable – The Road to Rio souvenir edition and we’re just finishing off a special edition for occupational therapists called Enable Professional. So it’s all go!
What do you like about working on Enable?
We’ve got a small but incredibly talented team, and that’s what makes coming to work every day a lot of fun. I know that, working together, we’ll always produce great magazines. I also love the incredible, interesting people I get to speak to for the magazine. From mums fighting to get their homes adapted for their disabled children to Paralympic athletes who have trained to be the very best in their sport, every day you get to speak to someone who’s doing incredible things.
What are the biggest challenges you face making the magazine?
There’s never enough space to share all the great story ideas we come up with! Some of the topics we tackle are tricky too. Things like the assisted dying debate – we have to make sure we give a balanced view, so it’s all about researching, speaking to the right people and giving divisive issues like that the time and effort they deserve.
What are you most proud of from your time at Enable so far?
For me, seeing what the magazine was when we first launched and looking at it now, I’m just so proud to see how we’ve moved and progressed over the last five years. We’re getting bigger, better interviews, tackling more difficult topics, and I love what Enable has evolved into. The magazine is really respected within the marketplace too, and we get lots of lovely feedback from our readers which is always nice to hear – it shows we’re doing something right.
What do you do when you’re not working?
Not working is a novel concept! I’m kidding – I do get some down time now and again! I’m addicted to Netflix – recently finished Gilmore Girls – I’m a big reader, I love going to gigs, I’m a keen cook and I spend a lot of time with my family, friends and boyfriend too. I’m constantly busy – but that’s how I like it!
If you’ve got an idea for Enable that you’d like to see us cover, get in touch with Lindsay at firstname.lastname@example.org.