Well, here we are again. It doesn’t seem that long ago since we were introducing the sixth edition of our Most Influential series of publications.
Yet that was all of 12 months ago and now it’s our pleasure to welcome you to edition No.7 – and to the second-ever North East Twitterati listing.
The Twitterati section was introduced last year to reflect the rise and rise of social media and it was not intended to be taken that seriously.
However, it was received exceptionally well, so we, obviously, decided to keep it going.
Nominations are way ahead of last year, and like last year, there is not a top 100 ranked by the number of followers an account has. That is too easy to manipulate and that sort of information is already widely available anyway.
A massive exercise was undertaken to get people to nominate accounts to follow in a Desert Island Discs-style way – if you could only follow five accounts, who or what would they be?
The results of that exercise are contained in a 16-page section at the back of this supplement.
The category headers have been changed to reflect the nominations.
To some people, being included on this list is incredibly important.
You can be influential in so many ways and there isn’t a tick-box exercise you can go through that determines whether a person is ‘in’ or ‘out’.
We all like to feel we are important in our own way, yet it would be pointless, and very expensive, for this supplement to contain the names of thousands of North East people.
That sort of publication already exists. It’s called the telephone directory.
Consultation with key individuals from a variety of sectors has been fundamental to the formation of the Most Influential list every year.
This year, a more formal panel was also formed – the names protected to prevent them any undue pressures.
The panel discussions helped further shape what is meant by influential. Being all-powerful inside your own organisation is often not enough in itself. We also needed good reasons why more than one person from any company or organisation would be included and there were many deliberations over this.
Graeme Mason, from Newcastle International Airport, was on last year’s list, as was his boss David Laws.
Because of his many connections, it was an obvious decision for Graeme to remain this year – but that same reasoning saw the introduction of Northumbrian Water’s Louise Hunter and Port of Tyne’s Susan Wear this year as new entries.
From the outset, we hoped that the Most Influential would prove a talking point, not just regarding who is in and who is out, but even about what influence means, particularly in a regional context. For example, there are a great many people from outside the region who have a powerful impact on what happens here.
Lord Adonis is not a North Easterner and is not based here, but he made the list for the past two years because he was chairing the North East Commission which reported to Government on the region’s long-term future. That work has ended and there was no reason to keep him on the 2014 version.
We are not saying our Most Influential list is exact or comprehensive, but the rigour applied to compiling it this year was greater than ever before. You may not agree with every entry and you may have strong candidates for inclusion who are not here.
Whatever you think, we hope you agree that the Most Influential list is useful in pulling together the names and faces of people who can make a difference in 2015.