Jem Bartholomew is an award-winning freelance reporter, with a focus on narrative nonfiction stories about poverty and social exclusion.


Portrait by Sophie Davidson ©

Jem Bartholomew is an award-winning freelance reporter, with a focus on narrative nonfiction stories about poverty and social exclusion.


Portrait by Sophie Davidson ©


Conversations on Poverty

Jem is launching a newsletter on Substack on May 15, 2024.

The Newsletter:

Conversations on Poverty is a newsletter about how the media covers poverty — and the urgent task of doing better — featuring conversations with leading writers and thinkers.


Six months out from decisive elections in the US and UK, we need reporters who document chronic poverty, homelessness and workplace exploitation more than ever. But we also need journalists to be aware of the inherent risks and complexities of doing this type of coverage. Far too often, the work of illuminating poverty can fall into extractive or exploitative relationships between the reporter and the subject. As Janet Malcolm wrote, in The Journalist and the Murderer, ‘all journalists feel, or should feel, some compunction about the exploitative character of the journalist-subject relationship’.

The newsletter is an opportunity to think through these questions — about craft and agency, ethics and representation — with leading writers. Hopefully these conversations spark further discussion. Season 1 of Conversations on Poverty, which will land in people’s inboxes on Wednesdays, runs from 15 May to 24 July. It features conversations with Squeezed author Alissa Quart, New Yorker staff writer Sarah Stillman, the Guardian’s John Harris, photographer Kirsty Mackay, Independent Food Aid Network director Sabine Goodwin, as well as Jem’s own sources who featured in Broke: Fixing Britain’s Poverty Crisis.

The project has received funding from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Study Hall. Graphics are by Daniel Norman.

Subscribe here: conversationsonpoverty.substack.com



©Graphics by Daniel Norman