Media start-up in the running for press award

A media start-up is up for a prestigious industry award a year after launching at the Leeds Digital Hub.

Robyn Vinter, who launched The Overtake last year, is up for the Georgina Henry Award for Digital Innovation at The Press Awards.

initiatives: Robyn Vinter is in the running for the Georgina Henry Award for Digital Innovation at The Press Awards. She launched The Overtake at the Leeds Digital Hub.'Picture: james hardisty

The awards celebrate innovative women in media and Ms Vinter will be up against projects from the likes of the BBC.

She told The Yorkshire Post that it was “honour” to be shortlisted alongside other innovators in journalism.

Ms Vinter said: “You apply for so many bits of funding and fill in so many different application forms and never hear anything back that after a while you start to wonder whether you actually exist. At the very least it’s an acknowledgement that we do actually exist.

“To have somebody from the North shortlisted is quite exciting.”

The Overtake, which began life in the Digital Hub before moving to the Entrepreneurial Spark hub, has found a new home in the basement of the Lost and Found pub in Leeds. The website, which is aimed at millennials, will move there at the end of the month.

Ms Vinter has been involved with several initiatives looking to empower women in the media including the launch of the Words By Women awards in 2015.

“We noticed that in The Press Awards shortlists there weren’t many women being nominated,” Ms Vinter said.

“That’s not the fault necessarily of The Press Awards, it’s just sometimes women don’t put themselves forward and organisations don’t put as many women forward.”

It has resulted in a more balanced shortlisting at The Press Awards, says Ms Vinter. The Georgina Henry award is named after the former deputy editor of the Guardian.

Ms Vinter said: “It’s about enterprise and women taking a chance and doing something a bit different.

“There’s been some very good winners the last few years. The competition is pretty tough so I’m not convinced that we’ll come home with anything.”

The entrepreneur is also part of an organisation called Second Source.

Ms Vinter said: “That is an organisation set up by about 15 women who work in journalism who have experienced sexual harassment or are aware of it happening and want to protect other women and I suppose offer some resources to them so that people don’t feel like they are suffering on their own.”

When it comes to gender diversity, newsrooms are “quite equally balanced”, Ms Vinter believes.

She said: “There’s probably as many women working as journalists as men. As you go higher up in the organisation you find basically it’s more men.”

But the situation in the media is improving with more women rising to the top of the industry, she added.

One of the toughest parts of launching her own business has been knowing who to trust when it comes to advice.

She said: “I feel like the start-up world is full of people wanting to give you advice and actually it’s very hard to know who is knowledgeable and who just likes the sound of their own voice.”

The other key issue has been attracting funding. The Overtake managed to secure a start-up loan but it wasn’t the amount Ms Vinter was hoping.

Ms Vinter is supported by a network of interns, freelancers and part-time staff.

The Society of Editors’ Press Awards take place on March 13.

Moving back up North

Robyn Vinter graduated with a First Class Honours degree in journalism from Leeds Beckett University in 2011.

She then moved down to London, where she worked for various titles.

In 2016, she decided to return home to Leeds to be closer to family and friends. This was part of the reason for her launching The Overtake.

Ms Vinter said: “I loved London actually. It was just that I found it hard being away from my family and friends for a long time.

“I was down there for more than five years.

“I love Leeds as a city and I love Yorkshire and the North so I was very keen to come back.”

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