Russ Bravo – Editor of the FSJ

This week on WHITEBALLOON INSIGHTS we hear from Russ Bravo of the Funeral Service Journal (FSJ) about it’s very long history, breadth of coverage, and how it always puts people first.

The FSJ has been going since 1886, which is an incredible length of time. Can you start by telling us a bit about it’s history?

FSJ (Funeral Service Journal) is the independent monthly magazine for the funeral sector and known as “the industry bible”. It has continued to publish through two world wars and charted the changing landscape of funerals and funeral customs for more than 135 years. Readers can get a glimpse into the FSJ’s pages from 100 years ago and 50 years ago in our regular Looking Back column in each issue.

The magazine has an amazing breadth of coverage, what are the key areas it includes?

We pride ourselves on the breadth of our coverage of this fast-changing profession, including everything we can in our regular 112 pages+ to reflect the range and diversity of the funeral world – from the groups to the independents, from crematoria to celebrants, embalmers to coachbuilders, stonemasons to memorial product suppliers.

Read by the decisionmakers up and down the UK and around the world, FSJ reflects the beating heart of the funeral sector.

You’ll find analysis of the latest trends in funerals, assessment of changes brought by regulation and new legislation, and loads of good advice from the experts – from making the most of digital resources to building up your funeral plan business, improving your green credentials to looking out for your staff’s mental health.

We have a range of expert commentators who bring their experience to bear on seeing where the funeral sector could be going in the next few years, and our feature section regularly looks at what we can learn from history, with our regular Resting Places, Funeral Customs, Grave Tales and Looking Back sections.

People are at the core of everything you do, can you tell us how this is reflected in the magazine?

Our major focus is always on people – the families all funeral directors seek to help at one of the most vulnerable times of their lives, and the wide range of professionals who find fresh vision and job satisfaction working in the funeral sector.

Our New Start column tells the stories of those who have come into the sector from other careers, while Unusual Undertakings lifts the lid on what hobbies and interests funeral people spend their time on when not at work.

We also love to feature how funeral firms support and engage with their communities in our People section – new initiatives, charity events, sponsored skydives and more.

You also have a fun side to the magazine?!

Yes we like to dig into the quirkier side of the funeral world with features on alternative hearses, unusual stories from funerals around the world, and our Funeral Funnies spot, part of our Puzzles page.

How can people get involved or subscribe to the FSJ?

A long established part of the funeral landscape in the UK – FSJ belongs to the NAFD, SAIF and the Funeral Suppliers’ Association (FSA) – we are here for our readers and advertisers, providing an informative, entertaining and illuminating read every month.

Do contact us on [email protected] or @fsj_uk on Twitter with your stories, and subscribe to make sure you don’t miss an issue at www.fsj.co.uk/subscribe

And finally, when you are not writing and editing, is there a favourite hobby or pastime that you love to do?

As well as enthusiastic grandparenting, I love creating, watching and listening to music (I’m an avid record collector), run a local comedy club that was launched by our church, and enjoy being out in the Sussex countryside and coastline.

Thank you Russ for your insights.

Photo: Denise Walker and Russ Bravo at the AGFD Good Funeral Awards 2023

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