In the run-up to the 2022 Headlinemoney Awards, we've been finding out more about our shortlisted rising star journalists. Today, Christopher Johnson talks about his coverage of diversity in the financial services industry, and reveals which sport he excels at.
What are the main beats you cover?
At Citywire Wealth Manager my focus is on covering UK wealth and asset managers. But the beauty of my role is that it allows me to explore varied topics of interest. I am particularly interested in covering ESG issues especially the adoption of renewable energy sources on the road to producing a carbon neutral future. I have enjoyed covering the industry’s push to integrate diversity into its organisations by profiling black and ethnic minority names in asset management. I also have an interest in writing about technology stocks, tracking their rise and fall in a high inflationary economic environment.
What was your reaction to making the shortlist?
Firstly, I felt deeply honoured to be shortlisted for the nomination as Rising Star (B2B) journalist. I remember attending Headlinemoney last year when I had just started Citywire. I was very green; I did not come from a background in financial services and knew that I had a long road ahead of me to be able to reach the knowledge I would need to write to a high level. Getting nominated is a full circle moment. It is the result of a lot of hard work and ultimately patience. It highlights the progress I have made over the last year and so I feel over the moon to be recognised as well as to represent Citywire Wealth Manager at such a prestigious event.
From your work so far, if you had to pick the story / feature / campaign you are most proud of, what would it be, and why?
At Citywire Wealth Manager’s conference in London I had the opportunity to conduct an interview with the renowned Black British historian David Olusoga. He is a personal hero of mine and being able to interview him about diversity in the financial services industry was so inspiring. He put into context the legacies of empire on UK financial services and what more needs to be done to ensure that such an important part of our economy reflects the society we live in.
What made you become a financial journalist?
I became a financial journalist because I wanted a role that would thread the social, the economic and the political together. I also wanted to work as a financial journalist because I have always felt that in order to have a greater understanding of how our society works you must understand the economy. Money makes the world go round. It has a huge influence over the political stability and social prosperity of a nation. My goal as a journalist is to be constantly learning and helping my readers expand their knowledge about the way the world works. I think financial journalism enables me to do this. I was also drawn to this industry because I was deeply committed to taking on a role that would challenge me. Sometimes in life the only way to grow is to be pushed out of your comfort zone. I knew that covering finance would be that challenge.
What financial interview would you most like to arrange?
A financial interview that I would love to arrange would be with Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala who is the Head of the World Trade Organization. She became the first woman and the first African to be chosen as Director-General. She was appointed in February 2021 in the throes of the coronavirus pandemic. At the time she made one of her priorities addressing the economic and health consequences brought on by the virus. But one could argue the world is in an even trickier position now with the Russia-Ukraine conflict adding another shock to a global economy that had not recovered from the impact of the pandemic. I would love to speak to her about what she thinks needs to be done to create a sustainable economy that works for the majority and not the few. I would also be interested in getting her perspective on deglobalisation and whether she is concerned that the coronavirus pandemic and the war in Ukraine has accelerated a move away from global cooperation to increased economic and political isolation.
2021 was undoubtedly a difficult year for everyone, but what were the particular challenges for you, as a relatively new ‘rising star' financial journalist?
I think the main challenge for me was starting this role when most of my colleagues were working remotely. I am a very social person and so I enjoy meeting new people. I also found that I learnt at a slower pace because my colleagues were not around as much. Yet when things began to open again my understanding increased quickly. A massive part of being a journalist is going out into London for meetings to talk to people. There is only so much Zooming one can take before both parties feel fatigued and disinterested. It has been great to get back out for lunches and to meet people in their office spaces. Building those in personal relationships within the industry has made my work that much more enriching.
Finally, if you were up for an award for any hobbies/activities outside of work, what would you be likely to win, and why?
I think that if I was to win an award for a hobby outside of work it would be for running. I greatly enjoy running to keep mentally and physically fit. But I am quite a quick sprinter. I enjoy pushing my body to the limit on a sprint to see how far it can take me.