We recently received correspondence from Sophie Yeo, founder and editor of new nature and conservation-based newsletter publication Inkcap. In the mere six months since its inception, Inkcap has already found fans in Robert Macfarlane and Patrick Barkham — and us! — so we asked Sophie to tell us a little more.
‘For a long time, I have been worried that journalists are not treating the decline of nature as a serious issue’, she says. ‘There are plenty of wonderful journalists who bring us the latest news – that’s not what I felt I was missing, exactly. Rather, I wanted newspapers to treat the UK’s devastating loss of species, beauty and complexity as a subject worthy of more time, space and creativity. I wanted more depth, more narrative, and more nuance.
So, earlier this year, I set up Inkcap, a new publication focusing on nature and conservation in the UK. It takes the form of a newsletter, which is basically the digital version of a physical newspaper, in that it delivers a finite amount of carefully considered content straight into your hands.
Establishing your own publication in the early and confusing months of a pandemic isn’t easy, but I’m six months in now and it seems to be going well; almost 2,000 people have signed up, with thousands reading my stories every week.
I started out on a wing and a prayer, but I’ve had time now to finesse Inkcap’s mission. There are two editions every week: a digest of the week’s news and a piece of original journalism. The features focus on providing depth and context to the UK’s nature crisis. Rather than chasing the latest developments, Inkcap provides a more considered view. It is a space for untold stories, unheard voices, and new dimensions.
The focus on the UK is an important part of Inkcap’s identity. So much environmental journalism focuses on the international picture; we forget, sometimes, about the filthy rivers, deforestation, wildfires and declines in our own country. To have any credibility abroad, we need to demand accountability at home.
But Inkcap is also a place for creativity. Journalism can be as elegant and moving as any other genre of writing, and true stories as compelling as fiction. As Inkcap grows, I hope to bring more writers into the fold, who can bring their own stories and perspectives. Nature in the UK is complex and varied; different people see the land in different ways. The way we write about the environment should reflect that.
For now though, Inkcap is a solo venture. While all the content is free, I hope to make it sustainable in the long-term through reader subscriptions; journalism is a low-paid and underfunded career, and I want the stories that I publish to remain uncompromised and independent.’