The 2018 Annual General Meeting of the British Society of Magazine Editors was held at the offices of eric at Ark Coworking, 237 Pentonville Road, King’s Cross, N1 9NG on Wednesday, 5 December.



The BSME Chair, Alex Mead, welcomed everyone to the 26th AGM of the Society.  Apologies were received from Tim de Lisle, Russell Parsons and Catherine Westwood.



Notice of this year's AGM of the British Society of Magazine Editors was given in the members’ newsletter which was sent out on Tuesday 30 October together with the Agenda and 2017 Accounts.  All members were invited to attend and had full voting rights.  




The 2017 Minutes were agreed.

 Proposed by:  Alex Mead.    Seconded by: Richard Headland.


           3.1          MATTERS ARISING

There were no matters arising.



Alex said that, as he had said at the Awards, in 2018 there really was a magazine for everyone and editors were still the very best in the business at editing the world around them for the people that they knew best - their readers. And at a time when there had never been so much content out there in so many different forms, the role of an editor in searching out the things that mattered, the stories that people didn’t know they were looking for, had never been more important. He said that editors today had more tools at their disposal than ever before with which to talk to their audiences.  They were truly multi-skilled, continually embracing new ways and methods to tell their stories. Nobody was purely print anymore, everyone was multi-platform.

With the ever evolving landscape came challenges everywhere and tough times, and the role of the BSME had never been more important, running events to inform as well as entertain and enabling members to exchange ideas and network.

This year’s BSME programme had included events on Future Thinking, Podcasts and Making Events work for your Brand.  They had also discussed The Rise and Fall of Music Magazines and heard last year’s Mark Boxer Award Winner, Jane Bruton, Deputy Editor and Director, Lifestyle of The Daily Telegraph in conversation with author and Telegraph columnist Bryony Gordon.

In July there had been the annual Summer Party, returning once again to the Peroni Ambra pop-up Restaurant and Bar on the Terrace at Somerset House.   And In October author and former editor Ian Birch joined Guardian Weekend Magazine editor Melissa Denes and Empire and Pilot TV Editor Terri White at the brand new Bankside Hotel to discuss their nominations for The Most Influential Magazine of All Time.  Moderated by Committee Member Tim De Lisle, these and the other nominations put forward by members were then put to the vote.  The winner was Time Magazine.

Alex said that the main events of the BSME calendar were always the Awards, starting with the Talent

Awards in June.  The Talent Awards were for team members up to and including Deputy Editors and this year included the Campaign, Innovation and Fiona Macpherson New Editor categories, previously part of the main Awards.  It had been a very good event, hosted by the beautiful Lalit Hotel, with Dolly Alderton co-presenting the Awards. Bookings were up, but entries were slightly down and with increased AV costs and a presenter fee the final profit was down £1,403 on last year.

Just a few weeks ago the main BSME Awards were held, once again to The Sheraton Grand Park Lane Hotel in Piccadilly. I co-presented the Awards with comedian Rachel Parris and musician Hailey Tuck performed.  As last year, we tried to offer more relevant categories enabling titles to be judged within their competitor sets and both shortlisting and judging was done by the Committee with some additional co-opted members.  To make the Awards feel more special the menu was created by three celebrity Chefs:  Anna Hansen of The Modern Pantry, José Pizarro and Simon Ulph, Head Chef at St Leonard’s – all of which had really raised the bar for the evening. At this time not all the invoices had been received, but entries and dinner bookings were up.

Alex said that Membership of the Society mid-October stood at 132 compared with 141 at the last AGM.  In addition there were currently a further 142 Temporary Members who have entered the Awards and had membership until the end of the year – compared with 120 last year.

Members were able to apply for a Press Card.  The cost of these had just been increased to £45.00 to cover the cost of sending them out by Special Delivery.

The BSME Administration for 2018 had again been handled by Gill Branston & Associates who had been re-appointed for 2019.

Alex said that Chairmanship of the Society usually ran from January to December and the Vice Chair or Chairs usually went on to chair the Society the following year.  This year, however, neither of the Vice Chairs felt able to put themselves forward.  He had therefore offered to stand again if that was the wish of the Committee and they had voted him as Chair for a second year, with Maria Pieri, Editorial Director of APL Media and Laura Rowe, Editor of olive as Vice Chairs.  Whilst this was not something he had envisaged, he hoped this continuity would strengthen the Society.

In conclusion Alex said that the Committee were currently looking ahead and planning the event schedule for 2019 and 2020. He asked for any event suggestions to be sent to the BSME office.


Signed Accounts for the year were sent out with the Agenda and further copies were available at the meeting.

It was stated that at the last AGM the 2017 Awards hadn’t taken place and the end of year financial situation was unclear.  Whilst Talent Awards income had been up £14,000 and internet, website and marketing costs were down, the conference was cancelled and the Awards Dinner was down by £19,000.  In the end, for the year ending 31.12.2017 the Society made a loss of £9,601, compared with £416 profit the previous year, and Members’ Funds stood at £45,081, compared with £54,682 at the end of 2016. 

Alex Mead said that, as previously mentioned, profit from the Talent Awards was down by £1,403, but excluding the event which had taken place earlier in the week, events had made a small profit of around £360 this year, compared with a loss of almost £1,400 last year.

Whilst figures were not yet available for the main Awards, entries and ticket sales were up on last year and he was confident that the profit would be up.

All finances were handled on the Society’s behalf by Gill Branston & Associates and RHCO Chartered Accountants (since the year end now incorporated into Forward Financial Accounting) had been reappointed for the year to examine and report on the Accounts.



As notified with the Agendas, the Committee recommended keeping membership fees unchanged for 2019. ie: Editor Membership £100.00 + VAT, Associates and Independent Membership £75.00 + VAT and Academic Membership £65.00 + VAT.  Corporate Membership to remain at £90.00 + VAT for eight or more Editor Members with complimentary ‘Associates’ membership given to each corporate member’s Deputy or Head of Digital. 

 Proposed by:  Alex Mead.           Seconded by:  Terry Tavner.



The BSME Committee meets every month to discuss the programme of events and matters which affect the industry.  They gave up a huge amount of time and Alex thanked them on behalf of everyone, and from him personally, for all the support they had given him.

They were his Vice Chairs:  Richard Headland, Editor-in-Chief, Which? and Sinead McIntyre, Editor-in-Chief, Fabulous, who were joined by: Tim de Lisle, Writer & Consultant; Gaby Huddart, Editor-in-Chief, Good Housekeeping and Group Editorial Director, Hearst Lifestyle; Charlotte Moore, Consultant; Russell Parsons, Editor, Marketing Week; Maria Pieri, Editorial Director, APL Media; Tim Pollard, Editorial Director, Bauer Automotive and Specialist; Dickon Ross, Editor-in-Chief, E&T; Laura Rowe, Editor, olive; Claire Sanderson, Editor-in-Chief, Women's Health; Terry Tavner, Consultant; John L. Walters, Editor, Eye magazine & Pulp Journal and Catherine Westwood, Editor-in-Chief, Woman, Woman’s Own, Woman’s Weekly and Now.

He also thanked also to Claire Irvin, Head of Travel Editorial, The Telegraph; Caroline McGinn, Editorial Director, Time Out;  Lucie Cave, Editorial Director, Heat and Terri White, Editor-in-Chief, Empire who had stepped down since the last AGM. 



As in previous years, the Committee proposed re-appointing RHCO Chartered Accountants, now incorporated into Forward Financial Accounting to examine and report on the 2018 Accounts.

Proposed by:   Alex Mead.    Seconded by: Laura Rowe.



         9.1          Membership Year

As previously notified, the Committee proposed running membership for a year from the date of joining or renewal, rather than from 1 January to 31 December each year.

 Proposed by:   Alex Mead.    Seconded by: Maria Pieri


There was no other business and the meeting ended.


– ENDS –