Staff in Spotlight series shines light on the creatives, designers, editors and executives who make Factory Media happen on a daily basis. Our company values – authenticity, inspiration, access and insight – are never more apparent than when you meet the real people behind our business.
“I AM VERY PROUD TO BE ABLE TO WORK WITH SOME OF THE MOST CREATIVE AND INNOVATIVE INDIVIDUALS FROM THE WORLDS OF ACTION, OUTDOOR AND ADVENTURE SPORTS. BY SHOWCASING THESE INDIVIDUALS WE CAN POTENTIALLY INSPIRE THE NEXT GENERATION OF CONTENT CREATORS AND INDUSTRY LEADERS.” – IAN GUNNER- CREATIVE DIRECTOR ; FACTORY MEDIA
Read a little bit about the experiences and unique personalities of Factory’s staff, in their own words.
This month: Tristan Kennedy, Editor in Chief – Mpora
What was your start date and position at Factory?
June 2009 (eight years ago!) as Assistant Editor on Whitelines. I was bought in on a nine-month freelance contract, mostly to help out with the mag but also to run the website (which was very much a sideshow at the time) and post on what was then a fairly new platform (for publishers at least) called “Facebook”…
What has been your favourite Factory project?
There were a lot of issues of Whitelines back in the day that I was really proud of – the 100th Issue was a good ‘un and I remember a Halloween special that was packed with god-awful puns. More recently it’s got to be the Outdoor 100s on Outdoors Magic & Mpora. They take a huge team effort to get out but it’s really satisfying when they go live. Individual stories like this history of boardsports have got to be up there too.
What’s your sport of choice? And if you had to give that up, what would you do instead?
Snowboarding, but if I was forced to give that up it’d be mountain biking for sure. I’m not particularly good at it (photo evidence supplied below) but I love the process of learning, despite the bruises that come with it.
What has been the weirdest job you’ve ever had to do?
I went to Russia on a rail riding mission for Whitelines in 2013. Our final stop was Perm in Siberia, where the oligarch who owned the local ski resort greeted us like guests of honour – he asked the riders to sign autographs, paid for me and the photographer to go up in this sketchy-as-fuck flying machine and then gave us all vodka and cuban cigars. We ended up back at his chalet drinking 70% moonshine until about 4am while he showed off his collection of vintage muzzle-loading pistols. That was pretty weird. So yep, it’s a toss-up between that and the month I spent working in a door factory in Rotherham.
Where’s the best place you’ve ever travelled to?
Bhutan last year was a pretty out there. But before I joined Factory, I did a trip that took me to Syria, Iran and Turkmenistan in 2007. I feel pretty lucky to have seen a lot of Syria before the civil war reduced it to rubble.
If you could go for a drink with anyone in the world (dead/alive/real/fictional), who would it be?
I’m a fickle bastard, so my answer to this varies depending on what I’m reading or listening to at the time. If we’re talking people to get pissed with though (at the risk of sounding crashingly clichéd) I reckon Hemingway and Hunter S. Thompson would always be up there. I’d have loved to have had a drink with Leonard Cohen before he went too, and of course the chance of a proper sit-down chat with Jeremy Corbyn would be amazing.
Who has influence your career the most and how?
Loads of people have inspired me, but in terms of direct influence it’s got to be Ed Blomfield. He took a bit of a punt giving me my first job at Factory and then taught me a hell of a lot about… well, everything.
Greatest personal achievement?
Outside of work, the first time my band got played on BBC 6Music was a big one for me. I listen to the station all the time so that was a proper buzz. Workwise, I guess it’s not a personal achievement so much as a team effort – I’m pretty proud of what the Mpora crew has done in the past few years in turning what was a failing video sharing platform into the massive magazine site and Facebook behemoth it is today. Jack, Stu, James, Sam, take a bow.
Three things people would be surprised to know about you?
I grew up in Africa…
…And then moved to Kazakhstan…
…So I can speak reasonable Russian (or at least I used to be able to…
Best thing about your job?
That it doesn’t really feel like a job a lot of the time.
Personal philosophy/ mantra?
Uhm… I don’t really have one. Try not to be a d*ck? Does that count?