Fiona Hughes, Head of Consumer interviews Louise Chunn, Founder of Welldoing.org

Fiona Hughes, Head of Consumer interviews Louise Chunn, Founder of Welldoing.org

Fiona Hughes

Fiona Hughes

Tell us a little about your background... how you got started?

I started my career off with a degree in history, whilst editing the university newspaper in my spare time. When I graduated I started working as a music writer on an evening paper in Auckland, New Zealand. In the 1980s I moved to London and was on the start-up team for Just Seventeen, a weekly teen magazine which I eventually edited. After several years there I moved on to become deputy editor at Elle, followed by women’s page editor at The Guardian and later, features director then deputy editor at Vogue. I later became editor of ES magazine, deputy then editor at InStyle, editor of Good Housekeeping and finally editor of Psychologies.

Welldoing.org is a new site for those who want to understand their emotions and motivations, and enhance their enjoyment of life. Tell us a bit about the website?

Welldoing.org is a content site for the general public to read and interact with subjects around self development, mental health and wellbeing. By the spring it will also have a directory of psychotherapists from all over the UK.

How is it working for an online title compared to print?

It couldn't be more different - it's so immediate. You can read about something in the newspapers over breakfast and have a response from an expert up on the site before lunchtime. I find that thrilling. I'm on a steep learning curve in the tech area, but again, it's exciting rather than frustrating. I have a small but dynamic team, and virtually everything we do is different from my magazine days - from who makes the tea to how we publicise ourselves.

How can PRs best work with the website?

I am happy to hear from PRs but they should roam around the site first, to see the areas we cover. Broadly speaking these include therapy, mind, body, soul, sex-love, family and work. We are sent a lot of information about health products and services but only cover those that we can trial. For example, one of the therapists tried a sugar detox, and we are writing about a megadose fish oil supplement, because I have been taking it. We are pretty high-minded about ethics and credibility. We also run quite a lot about books, and are keen to hear about events - plays, concerts etc - as we have a Culture Tip of the Week.Welldoing.org website

Who is the site aimed at?
I think of the site as appealing to everyone sitting in my local coffee shop. There is content on there for everyone- stories on yoga styles, parenting after divorce, the latest in dating sites and how to begin volunteering. The pieces range from light-hearted humour to more serious information on mental health and self development.

Demographically, I know that a lot of younger people are struggling with their expectations of life. Middle-aged women have long been known to be the major users of psychotherapy and counselling, but now young people, of both genders, are catching up. Analytics show that around two-thirds of our visitors are under 45, and just under three-quarters are female. We try to provide content for a broad range of people as we don't want to rule out anyone who might be interested in the area.

What’s your favourite article on your site? And why?

I asked a Cambridge psychologist and author Dr Terri Apter to write about female friendship via the prism of the four girls in Lena Dunham's Girls. It's long for a website piece - around 1000 words - but it's intelligent, thoughtful and - going on the metrics, very popular.

Get in touch with Fiona on LinkedIn or Twitter.

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