Interview with Jack Lenox – Publications Co-ordinator candidate for GPEx
Throughout August, members of the Green Party for England & Wales will be voting to elect members of the next Green Party Executive (GPEx). In all, members will vote to determine which representatives will carry out eleven different roles – including that of leader and deputy leader. There is also a ballot to determine who will be the party’s third member in the House of Lords should the party be asked to put forward another peer.
Jack Lenox (former GPEx internal communicators co-ordinator) is set to stand for the role of publications co-ordinator. This month, he expects to face Julia Lagoutte (co-host of the Green Big Politics Podcast, and writer & editor for the Green European Journal) and Daniel Keeling (former co-chair of the Young Greens’ Senate, and current chair of the Newham Green Party) in the running for the role.
We asked each of the candidates five questions on their background and what they would seek to achieve on GPEx. Here are Jack’s responses.
What do you think are the main challenges currently facing the Green Party, and how would you work to overcome them?
An immense challenge facing the Green Party right now is our electoral system. It is so sickening, time and again, to see us totting up the better part of a million votes across the country, only to return a single MP to the House of Commons. We need to do everything we can to bring about electoral reform, and to challenge the constant false narratives regarding the will of the British people. 2021 represents an unprecedented electoral cycle and requires us to hit the ground running, and deliver the best results that we possibly can. I want to do everything I can to support this effort in terms of supporting the production of convincing and high-quality publications across all quarters.
Another enormous challenge that the Green Party faces alongside all life on earth is of course the climate and ecological emergency. The coming ten years couldn’t be more important for the climate movement, and by association for the Green Party. When it comes to our messaging, how that messaging is spread, and how we engage our membership, there could never be a more vital time for ensuring it’s as good as it can be. I intend to ensure our publications meet the challenges asked of them.
What skills do you bring that would make you an effective member of the executive?
I have very good interpersonal and communication skills. My experience of twice standing as a prospective parliamentary candidate for the party has helped me significantly improve my public speaking and advocacy for what I believe in. This has also helped me get in the habit of quickly getting up to speed on an issue and understanding both sides of an argument. I am not daunted or intimidated by the demeanour or reputations of others and have robust morals when it comes to what I believe is right. Even when this means calling out my friends and natural allies when I disagree with them.
What experience do you have in publications?
I have spent pretty much my entire career working in one form of publishing or another. I currently work on the WordPress VIP team at Automattic (the company behind WordPress.com) providing consultation services to some of the largest publishers and news organisations in the world. WordPress powers more than a third of the internet and as a volunteer I have been helping the Green Party with its WordPress setup.
I also have a real passion for print publications, with an unhealthy number of subscriptions to various magazines and journals. I founded my university’s student newspaper and served as it’s Editor-in-Chief for three years. I subsequently ran a social network for creative writers with an accompanying literary magazine both in print, and with a digital edition available on tablet devices. I have produced all of the printed materials for my local party since becoming an active member in 2015.
What would be your key priorities as publications coordinator?
First is working with our elections team to improve the process of setting up microsites and digital publications for local campaigns and election campaigns. By this I mean individual candidate websites and the like alongside local party websites.
Second is to work with our elections team to massively improve accessibility to our Target To Win resources. I think our How To Win Local Elections handbook (aka the Target To Win manual) is probably the most important publication that the Green Party puts out, and it’s just no good having it only available as a hard format book that you have to pay £20 for.
Third is to bring Green World back to print alongside the website. Not printing Green World has significantly reduced its presence among Green members and many aren’t aware of the website at all. But it still costs us a lot of money and I don’t think that currently represents good value, even though I do think that the content it publishes is really very good.
How would you improve Green World?
I think the Green World Editorial Board does a fantastic job, and I very much enjoy the content they curate and produce. The big area for improvement in Green World is how that content is delivered to the members. We need to return it to print production and I propose this be done on a twice yearly basis with issues to be produced alongside our conferences. I propose it be freely available for members to pick up at Conference and for excess copies to be posted to new members as they join. Green World still receives a fairly sizeable budget and a print issue is definitely feasible. A print edition of Green World would also open up an opportunity for a digital deliverable for tablet devices and e-readers.
Alongside these improvements I would like to introduce a podcast for the magazine. To begin with, this could simply be voiced versions of the main articles which would improve accessibility to Green World‘s content. I have grander ambitions for the website too but I’m mindful that my initial term as publications coordinator (if elected) will be only one year, so I’ll see how I get on!
This interview is part of a series with each of the candidates in this year’s GPEx elections. You can find Bright Green’s full coverage of the elections here.
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