Meet the team – Tamsin O’Brien, founder
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Last updated Apr 4, 2024

For the past few weeks, we’ve been introducing you to the team behind The Stray Ferret.

This week we’re featuring Tamsin O’Brien, the founder of the organisation.

Tamsin is the founder of the Stray Ferret and has spent three decades working as a journalist and in the media.

She began her career in 1990, working as a reporter for BBC Radio Berkshire. In the following thirty years she’s seen a huge transformation in technology. 

She said:

“When I started working each radio journalist had a German recording machine called a Uher. It was big and very heavy. It recorded on reel to reel.

“It seems incredible now looking back on it. I’d get back to the newsroom and cut the tape up and put it around my neck before sticking it together to make a clip or radio package. It seems like centuries ago, rather than decades.” 

After moving into TV news, Tamsin then went on to run parts of England for the BBC as Head of BBC Yorkshire and then BBC North West in Manchester.  

After twenty years in the BBC she returned to North Yorkshire to live in Harrogate where she has stayed ever since. But she missed journalism and in 2020 decided to set up The Stray Ferret.  

She explained:

“I felt this area was really underserved for quality local journalism. Local newspaper circulation was falling and journalism posts were being cut.

“There was an opportunity to provide a completely new digital news service  – I did not expect Covid to come along and change everything but it did and the rest is history.

“Whilst we made no money in the first 18 months, we did get a huge readership. I think everyone got a little more digital during Covid.”

Outside work Tamsin loves to travel, stay fit and enjoys a long walk in the Dales, followed by a pub lunch.  

Her passion though is journalism and she is a self-confessed news junkie.  

“I love the business of news and I am very interested in politics. Journalism play a vital role in a democracy.

“There’s now an even greater need for responsible, sourced journalism as we face the challenges of AI and deep fake technology.

“The Stray Ferret is for everyone – we are making it better and our aim is to maintain the quality. You never know when you need a journalist. We are here so get in touch.”


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