Image: Grace Paul

Over a year on from the first lockdown, many families and couples who fled city life for bucolic living are making the move permanent. But what about some of London’s young people? Victoria Miller speaks to three twenty-something journalists on their reflections of the capital during the pandemic.

For decades, London has enticed thousands of budding young journalists eager to make their mark in one of the world’s most established and prestigious media hubs. While Fleet Street’s heyday as London’s journalism epicentre may be over, London still houses just over 50 per cent of the UK’s journalists.

But when the pandemic struck, and lockdown confined everyone to their own four walls, life slowed down.

With the possibility of being trapped working from home in cramped flat shares, with little to no green space, many young Londoners fled the city.

“One in five of those aged 18-24 said that they had moved away permanently from the capital as a result of the pandemic”

In February, Bloomberg reported that one in five of those aged 18-24 said that they had moved away permanently from the capital as a result of the pandemic, rising to almost a third in 25 to 34-year olds. In addition, a survey earlier this year by home insurance company Urban Jungle found that just over half of 18 to 34-year-olds said they would like to leave London after the pandemic. Both studies indicate that this trend will continue after the pandemic.

XCityPlus spoke to three journalists whose attitudes to London have changed as a result of the pandemic.

Freelance editor and writer Grace Paul, 29, left London during the first lockdown. She moved back to her parents’ house in East Farleigh in Kent after her house share tenancy ended.

Recent history graduate Beatriz Valero de Urquía left London last summer after the 22-year-old secured a writing position at Bulletin Media, a digital and tech news outlet in Norwich.

While Drew Miller Hyndman still lives in the city, he says the pandemic has given him an impetus to leave. The 23-year-old journalism researcher is looking to move back to his hometown of Brighton later this year.

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