Executive Board Report 2017 / 2018

The past year has thrust construction and housing into the public consciousness like never before, following the terrible fire at Grenfell Tower. From design, engineering, build quality, and health and safety, to building control, resident engagement and housing management, the disaster has touched all parts of the built environment sector.Specialist journalism has played a pivotal role in investigating the tragedy, exploring the implications for readers and in scrutinising and holding those involved to account.

Meanwhile, the #MeToo movement and the FT’s President’s Club investigation have given cause to examine the sectors we write about and the media industry itself. Publications and communication professionals have been looking in the mirror and considering what action they can take to stamp out sexism and promote inclusivity.

Against this backdrop of challenge, change and readjustment, IBP has continued to bring people across the built environment together, to support networks, support careers and promote debate about the future.

The IBP Communication and PR Awards continued to flourish, highlighting outstanding campaigns, teams and individuals. Over eighty editors, journalists, communication professionals and guests gathered to celebrate the winners and listen to Young Journalist of the Year Katherine Smale, as she developed her opening remarks on “Engineering a career change” – from trainee engineer to award winning young journalist on New Civil Engineer. Young Communicator of the Year (2017) Declan Bennet with the London Communications Agency particularly wowed the judges, as did Goodfellow Communications, who took the Best PR Consultancy Team awards after demonstrating remarkable growth.

The IBP Journalism Awards opened with a sobering, moment-in-time speech from Telegraph Group executive director and Conservative Peer Lord Black. The former Press Complaints Commission director spoke from the heart about the importance of press freedom and the threats, costs and opportunities ahead. The awards were once again judged by 28 respected expert judges, and highlighted the quality and value of committed, long-term investigative journalism, that is well represented in the built environment B2B titles and ‘embraced’ by the National media.

Looking forward, the Futures Group is planning to approach all members with a two-minute survey of what topics they want to see covered by future sessions. Still very much on the agenda is a searching session looking at the #MeToo movement, asking how trade publications can balance scrutiny with supporting their readers and the role of communicators in championing positive change. Past sessions have featured leading speakers from the FT, Buzzfeed, the Wall Street Journal and others for the benefit of members.

IBP remains committed to bringing people together to share ideas and create outstanding content. The board is exploring the exciting possibilities for the future, including reaching out to built environment specialist writers in the national and regional media through our association with News Media UK and the Society of Editors, and continuing to evolve our events.

We always want to hear from members about what they find valuable and what they would like IBP to provide, so please keep an eye out for the Futures Group survey, due shortly.

I thank warmly all board members for giving their valuable time to attend meetings and discuss the IBP’s present activities and future direction.

I also thank members for entering the IBP Journalism Awards and the Communication and PR Awards and our sponsors and partners. I look forward to seeing you at our next events.

Emma Maier
Editor-in-chief, Inside Housing