Why bloggers won’t replace journalists


This blog is about journalists; the good ones; in particular it is about Stephanie Hawthorne who is the pension journalist’s  pension journalist.

A blogger like me gets up in the morning and streams his consciousness into 5-700 words. His or her view goes into the cement mixer and it sets in concrete alongside those of all the others.

A journalist, a good journalist, a journalist as good as Stephanie, plans her way to an article.

She gets the aggregates and cements, mixes the concrete , lays it and sells the building!

Good journalists do it for a living and guys like me, do it for fun; and there’s a big difference.

We need bloggers but they will not replace journalists, and no-one will replace Stephanie Hawthorne.

She sent me ( and a whole load of others) this tonight. My bits are in red- for what that’s worth..


  1. What challenges have there been?
    1. Understanding what the regulations are saying
    2. Integrating payroll and HR functions into the process
    3. Sourcing work-rounds to make sure AE compliance (middleware, payroll recoding and short-term manual processing when things go wrong!)
    4. Agreeing statutory comms with providers , integrating with bespoke comms to ensure staff are properly engaged.
  2. What have been the opt- out rates of your clients (or other companies) that have staged so far? It would be great if you could name individual companies – any mini case studies would be great
    1. Less than 10%
  3. What can we learn from businesses that have already staged? What’s worked? What’s not worked?
    1. What worked , worked because of the resource thrown at the problem
    2. To get the 2014+ stagers through the processes, there needs to be standardisation, less flexibility and more self-service
  4. Have you any advice for HR directors or Pension Managers with a staging date on the horizon?
    1. The obvious one- start earlier than you were planning
    2. Talk to people with hands-on experience
    3. If you don’t know anyone who has, use social media, there are many managers out there willing to help; (use mallowstreet, linkedin groups and your gingerbread groups)
  5. Is auto enrolment legislation unnecessarily complex or difficult?
    1. It is complex,
    2.  it probably had to be
    3. and it will get simpler.
  6. What proposals from DWP would you like to see to improve auto-enrolment?
    1. The payroll proposals in the simplification document are spot on (the Minister listened to the payroll experts)
    2. Companies with mutlitiple subsidiaries should not have to re-enroll employees moving from company to company within the group
  7. Are companies in generally just trying to comply with the law or using the pension and AE as a real employee benefit?
    1. Companies so far, are using AE to up their benefits game; let’s hope this contnues
  8. Will there be a capacity crunch?
    1. No, the universe of suppliers will shrink but the big boys will step up to the plate
  9. Have there been any surprises? Yes- AE has really been embraced and nothing much has gone wrong!

Employee communications

  1. Have you any tips how to make employee communication around auto-enrolment as engaging as possible?

    1. Make sure they can be read on a smartphone
  2. Can you give an example of best practice where AE has been made engaging where an employer has staged so far?

    1. Quietroom did a great job working with Whitbread to get the message out to all the Costas and Beefeaters in the land – great job!
  3. How can you stop staff tuning out as soon as you mention the P word (pensions)?

    1. We have to make the P-word a good word- not apologise for pensions!

 The questionnaire ends

To help planning it would be great if you could email me to let me know you will be responding to the questions.

Imagine collating these responses from multiple sources and creating a coherent document that established the trends and becomes an authorative document.

Journalists like Stephanie document the development of pensions and become part of the process itself. By showing us the bigger picture, they enable us to better understand where our work is aligned to standard practice, where we might feel we are behind the curve and where we are in the vanguard.

I am equally impressed by the work being carried out by Incisive’s Jonathan Stapleton (Pension Buzz). We do not value this work enough or make proper use of the findings it produces. Providing a new digital platform to showcase this work is part of what we are doing with www.pensionplaypen.com .

About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
This entry was posted in advice gap, auto-enrolment, pensions and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Why bloggers won’t replace journalists

  1. Dont forget all those great books which must be read before finding time for bolggers!!

  2. Pingback: A message to 1.2m employers who aren’t reading (yet)! | The Vision of the Pension Plowman

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