The Red Robin, a new Labour focused news site, has caused quite a stooshie on Twitter over the last few days following a promotional piece for it on CommonSpace. While I have no intention to use this article to enter that particular debate I earlier came across a Tweet I found rather interesting…..
This particular Tweet raised concerns about the lack of transparency about who was behind the site. While it is not unusual for webmasters to keep their private contact info…well…private…indeed I’ve done them same with the registry information for this site, I thought I’d have a look and see if I could dig anything up (I make it absolutely clear in several places on this very site who exactly I am should anyone think about accusing me of double standards).
This page states that “The Red Robin is a project of WriteYouMedia Ltd”.
So off I go to Companies House for some info on this company and there I find something called WriteYou Media Ltd (Company number 09998782) first incorporated on 10th February 2016 with a registered address of a flat in London (I won’t publish the address here but it is freely findable on the Companies House website).
The sole director of the company is one Michael Joslin, 30 years old, and also with an address in London (but different from that listed as the companies registered address).
It’s also very interesting to notice the big red warning (rather than a red robin) on their Companies House entry that their accounts for the year ending 28th February 2017, due to be filed by 10th November 2017, are still listed as overdue.
But wait Marky, I hear you say, are you sure that this is the right company? Well, helpfully, the deep Google site search also uncovered this “test” page that does indeed confirm that Michael (Mike) Joslin is associated with the Red Robin.
So armed with this confirmation let’s take a deeper dive into WriteYouMedia. First off here is Mr Joslin’s contributors page on the WriteYou website:
The Mission Statement of the WriteYou website states:
Over the last few years it’s been clear to me that people want a platform where they can read articles on subjects that interest them from people that interest them, whether that is politics or something like craft beer or fly fishing. They don’t just want to read the editorial line of a newspaper – they want to read from the people that the newspapers are writing about.
I was frustrated that there wasn’t a central place where I can find articles from people that interest me or have a conversation with people I don’t know around topics I’m interested in.
So I created the UK’s first social newspaper, WriteYou.
My mission – to shake up the way people consume news, with newspaper formed from opinion and the views of our writers. We are a non-partisan social network for news.
What else do we know about Mike? Well I found this bio of him from a Labour website from 2012:
Mike Joslin is a leading expert in digital communication and campaigning. His work is regularly featured in the media and his advice is regularly sort(Sic) by shadow cabinet members and trade union General Secretaries. After working for US President Barack Obama, the Labour Party as an election organiser, former Labour Leader Ed Miliband and former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone, he founded a leading global campaigns firm that had over 50 MPs in many different countries, 30 political parties, 20 trade unions and several national charities and businesses among its clients. He now has interests in a number of areas including digital media and consultancy.
Going back to WriteYou Media Ltd’s entry with Companies House, on 2nd May 2017, they were issued with a “First Gazette notice for company strike-off” which would have seen Companies House take action to dissolve the company. They averted this action on the 20th June 2017 and five days later changed the registered address of the company. They were also subject to the same action in January 2018 of this year. I’ll note that this may mean that they have in fact lodged accounts for last year and that fact has not yet been updated on the Companies House website.
I would have like to have read through Mr Joslin’s Twitter timeline (@mikejoslin) but he has the account protected. It does appear that he has (at the least) written for websites such as labour-uncut & LabourList.
At this stage I think this is as far as I will go with this article as I don’t want to discredit Mr Joslin in anyway but I encourage readers to dig deeper should they wish.