Photo by Ross Findon / Unsplash

The end of Borderline and the start of something new

Isabelle Roughol
Isabelle Roughol
Tl;dr: New job! Borderline archives will stay online, but there won't be any more new episodes. Future blogs will only be relevant to media folks, so I'll be culling this email list by half. Hit the button at the bottom to un/resubscribe.

Dear Borderline listeners, readers and friends,

I've got news. In a week or so, I am joining The New Humanitarian as its inaugural director of audience and revenue development.  

The New Humanitarian welcomes Director of Audience and Revenue Development and new Policy Editor
The New Humanitarian has hired its first ever Director of Audience and Revenue Development to push its award-winning content to new audiences, markets and paying customers.

Those of you who follow Borderline's Twitter will recognise the name: The New Humanitarian provided half the stories in my feed as it has some of the best immigration coverage out there. TNH, born within the United Nations as IRIN and since spun off as an independent non-profit newsroom, is dedicated to "journalism at the heart of crises." Its journalists cover the great trinity of the world's current challenges – conflict, climate change and migration – all over the world, especially where other media never go. It provides in-depth information for the aid sector while also acting as its vital watchdog. In news circles TNH is known too as a leading voice for decolonising foreign coverage.

The New Humanitarian is widely read in the aid community and is almost exclusively funded by philanthropy. My job will be to expand its readership and to diversify its revenue. Think syndication, partnerships, socials, events, new formats... There's more detail at the link above. The job sits squarely at the intersection of editorial and business. It feels like applying every skill I've ever learned to every cause I've ever cared about. I'm joining an all-women leadership team, which is a fun change from tech, under the wise guidance of CEO Heba Aly. Before long I'll be hiring, so look out for that. The team has already massively impressed me with their thoughtfulness, friendliness and sharp sense of direction. You've guessed it: It's a dream job for me.

For Borderline, however, it means the end of the road. If I'm honest, the end of the road was nearly six months ago. A bad bout of covid abruptly interrupted the last season, and I never quite wanted to pick it up again. After 50+ episodes, Borderline had said what it needed to and done for me all it could. It also would never pay the bills. I started working as a freelance executive producer at The Guardian (check out those pods here) and set out on a full-time job search.

I am grateful to all of you for listening, reading, sharing and even sometimes disagreeing. I send particularly warm thanks to past paid members who allowed me to just about break even on software costs and let me know I was doing something worth getting behind. I'm grateful to 50-odd guests who gave me a massive education in everything from the British hostile environment to immigrant representations in pop culture, post-conflict justice and medieval globalisation. I take all that with me. I'd wax lyrical but I think the body of work speaks for itself, and I'm proud of it.

Some housekeeping: The podcast archives are staying online courtesy of the kind folks at Transistor. I cannot speak highly enough of them if you're looking for a podcast host. All articles and – vitally – transcripts remain available too at You'll notice a design change but it's all there. You're done receiving incessant emails from me for the moment. In time I'll start publishing again and will ping you then. I'm hoping to chronicle what I'm learning about building audience and revenue for our wider news industry and to record some podcast conversations with fellow indie media builders. But after this email, I'm culling the list – every single subscriber costs me and the planet – to just media folks and the most engaged among you. Hit the button below to resubscribe if need be or to adjust your email settings.

For now I'm focusing on making a strong start at the new job and getting a roof over my head again back in London. Add me to your Twitter, your LinkedIn, your rss feeds even, and we'll be in touch. Let's go!

Isabelle Roughol Twitter

Journalist. Founder & host of Borderline. Former international editor of LinkedIn, foreign editor at Le Figaro, reporter at The Cambodia Daily. Global soul, messy accent.