Jess McCabe

I am a journalist and these are some of the stories I've been working on lately

The Times follow up

A couple of weeks ago, my story on how many homes that housing associations are building was followed up on the front page of The Times: The Times viewed my data as evidence that overpaid housing associations are not building enough. Our own front page splash took the exact opposite angle (see above). My story in full, as it appeared…

The development rollercoaster (Inside Housing)

It was all going so well. Last June, we published with extra fanfare our league table ranking the housing associations which are developing the most homes:Inside Housing’s Top 50 Biggest Builders. “If we were a [for-profit] business we would stop developing.” Brendan Sarsfield, chief executive, Family Mosaic We applauded as the number of homes built rose by 53% to just…

Inside Housing diversity survey 2016

Inside Housing’s survey of 100 housing associations reveals how representative the sector’s boards and executives really are. Jess McCabe reports   How diverse is housing’s leadership? To find out,Inside Housing sent a detailed survey to the 180 biggest housing associations in the UK. We asked about the number of women and the number of black and minority ethnic (BME) people…

The Bailie Show (from Inside Housing)

When the Northern Ireland Housing Executive started looking for a new chief executive, you couldn’t blame the candidates for quailing a bit at the prospect. It’s no small fish; an 89,000-home social landlord with a budget of £750m. The body also administers housing benefits in Northern Ireland; allocates social housing; disperses grant to housing associations; and champions mixed communities in…

The mean storyteller becomes two people, acting alternately as he works. The first is the sensitive artist-creator, the second a savage critic who eradicates every weakness in the creation. He’s cruel, derisive and obsessively demanding. He hoots at the writer’s affectations and pretty turns of phrase, blisters him for cowardice when he uses soft, passive constructions or hedges on conclusions, challenges every point of logic, demands sound reasons for the presence of every character and fact, and above all flagellates his victim for wordiness. He is a rotten SOB, worse than any editor who ever drew breath, and he’s the artist’s best friend.

This passage is from The Art and Craft of Feature Writing, one of the best practical guides for factual storytelling I’ve ever come across. Written by the Wall Street Journal’s William E Blundell it was first published in 1988. Most journalists are obsessed with how our industry is changing, but the nuts and bolts of how to put a story together are timeless.

Tracking housing apprentices (Inside Housing feature)

Twenty-year-old Jessica Senior is a model apprentice. After dropping out of college, she was tooling around looking for different options and came across the multi-trade apprenticeship programme of 100,000-home Sanctuary Housing on the government’s apprentice website. “A lot of my other friends have gone to university, but it wouldn’t have been right for me. It’s not getting me any further…