EDITORS’ EDITOR STATEMENTS 2018
Anna Bassi, Editor-in-Chief, The Week Junior
Creating a weekly current affairs magazine for 8–14 year olds is a huge responsibility. Numerous decisions are made every day. Which stories are suitable? What topics are relevant? What information must be included and what might need to be withheld? What do our readers need to know to make sense of the story? Which words or concepts might need explaining? How can we ensure readers are informed but not alarmed? What do they find funny? What do they care about? Are we sure this is right? Is this a fact or an opinion? Will their parents be ok with this?
Since launching in 2015, The Week Junior has won a handful of awards. It is praised by parents, valued by teachers and loved by readers. Of course, I don’t create the magazine by myself. I am lucky to have an incredibly talented and hardworking team working with me, but as the Editor-in-Chief my priority is to ensure that we continue to excel, remain relevant and stand up to the close scrutiny of our ever-growing legion of fans. Having earned their trust we must now keep it. My job is not only to give the magazine its voice and set the editorial agenda, I must also provide the moral compass, understand the needs, wants and interests of young people, ensure that my team understands them too – and guarantee that the magazine that we produce every week lives up to our tagline: ‘Making sense of the world’.
I represent The Week Junior in media and at events and festivals. I visit schools and contribute my expertise as a member of the judging panel for a variety of awards. I work closely with our commercial teams, helping to devise pitches to advertisers, advising on marketing artwork and contributing to our education outreach programmes. I’ve also led the creation of brand extensions – three annuals and our new monthly magazine Science+Nature – ensuring that The Week Junior’s unique editorial voice, high standards of journalism and clarity of design remain at the heart of everything that we do.
Kath Brown, Editor, woman&home
For an editor to succeed they have to keep just one thing at the top of their priority list - the audience! In other words, the people who are going to pay money for your magazine and engage with your brand. I¹ve been an editor on and off for three decades - I launched the teen mag Sugar in the early 90s and Red in 1998 - and although being at the helm has changed dramatically in that time, it¹s still all about readers. Editing Woman & Home is a joy because we really are focussed on delivering relevant and inspiring content to a very real demographic. Our recent ABC of 284,467 is up by 1.3% on the newsstand. These women really exist and they value Woman & Home and what we add to their lives. When I took over as editor last year my aim was to bring
modernity to the brand on all platforms and make sure we are known as the fashionable, glamorous destination for 50 plus women throughout the UK. As well as attracting readers, this strategy has also resonated with our
advertising partners. One commercial initiative I¹m particularly proud of is the Amazing Women Awards sponsored by JD Williams which will culminate in a fabulous awards ceremony at Claridges next month. Our goal as a brand is to be unapologetically positive about midlife women and the brilliant things they are achieving in all walks of life and these awards celebrate 50 over 50 of them who are taking the world by storm. It¹s a
very good time to be a grown up woman and Woman & Home is right at the centre of the zeitgeist.
Justine Picardie, Editor-in-Chief, Harper's Bazaar (UK)
The past year has seen Harper’s Bazaar mark two important milestones. In 2017, we celebrated our 150th anniversary by exploring the treasures in our archives, revealing that a feminist perspective is threaded through Bazaar’s history. Inspired by this legacy, we began 2018 with a mission to be at the forefront of national conversations about women’s rights during the centenary of female suffrage: publishing Millicent Fawcett’s famous quote – ‘Courage calls to courage everywhere, and its voice cannot be denied’ – on the front of our February issue, whose cover star Michelle Williams epitomises the Bazaar woman: bold, brave and free to speak her mind.
Ever since in its launch in 1867, Bazaar has been led by forward-thinking editors, whose commitment to freedom has accompanied their belief that fashion can be a creative means of expressing ideas and identity. I feel privileged to follow in their footsteps, and proud to have commissioned stories that feature women of all ages, races and sizes, from Ashley Graham to Serena Williams.
As well as being an authority on fashion, Bazaar has an exceptional artistic and literary heritage. Thus I have paid tribute to brilliant past contributors, including Virginia Woolf and Nancy Mitford, while also commissioning outstanding contemporary writers such as Margaret Atwood and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Similarly, I have republished the remarkable artworks created for Bazaar in the past – by Chagall, Cocteau and Warhol – at the same time as championing contemporary female artists, and commissioning five original covers by Yoko Ono, Tracey Emin, Gillian Wearing, Jenny Holzer and Maggi Hambling.
Beyond the print editions and bespoke digital content, I have overseen our events programme, from our Women of the Year Awards, which reached a wider audience of 755 million people, to our inaugural Bazaar Summit, our sold-out Bazaar Literary Salon, and our first-ever Bazaar Art Week, all of which bring the magazine to life, encouraging a series of conversations with our readers and contributors.
As a consequence, Bazaar’s financial performance in the past year has been its best ever, and our circulation is rising, with a fifth consecutive year-on-year growth. At a time of challenges to the print industry, I feel passionately about the importance of celebrating the art of storytelling, and, above all, inspiring our readers to be the heroines of their own lives.
Farrah Storr, Editor-in-Chief, Cosmopolitan
I didn’t think I would be an editor in 2018. The beat on the jungle drums was that print were over, power was in the hands of the digital gods and magazines were little more than food for worms. And yet...here I am, somehow on a shortlist with five brilliant editors, and Cosmo, the magazine I edit is standing stronger than ever. Why do I deserve your nomination? I don’t know. But here’s what I can tell you about the job I do. Every month I try to put together a magazine that challenges thought. I try to spark conversation, ignite curiosity at the turn of a page and give writers a place for their voice to be heard. Let journalists do what they do best- investigate, take their time and write over 8, 9, sometimes 10 pages about the issues that excite them. And hopefully the consumer will follow. It’s a gut-instinct formula that has worked for us. Since taking over Cosmo we are now the biggest women’s glossy in the country. We are the biggest channel on Snapchat Discover, reaching I million teens every day and 10 million twenty-something across our website each month. We have broken global stories – the ‘sex for rent’ scandal, the only interview with the schoolgirl who ran off with her teacher, as well caught sexual predators in a nine-month undercover investigation into the Blue Whale online suicide cult resulting in a full-scale police investigation. This month our magazine cover was hoisted above Times Square for featuring a size 26 model (we have always shown plus size women on our cover incidentally) and debated across the globe- showing that magazines can still set the news agenda if you pick the issues that count. But it’s what we’ve done off the page that has really given me hope as to what an editor can do with a brand that stands for something. Empowerment through action is our motto and nowhere is that more clearly expressed that through the Cosmo Home Made, our housing scheme providing rent 70% below average London prices for young creatives who need to be in the capital to pursue their careers but can’t afford to. We have also rolled out a sex education programme currently being taught in schools in socially deprived areas across the country. Magazines don’t just count, they count more than ever – I hope Cosmo shows that.
Toby Wiseman, Editor-in-Chief, Men’s Health
I almost didn’t write this. Just not me, the vainglorious thing. It’s with a mixture of awe and terror that I watch the new breed of go-getting, influencer EiCs, thrusting their personal brands into the blue light, while I hide behind the curtain like a maladroit wizard, desperate to get on with the job in the shadows. It is, I know, a failing.
Which is not to say I’m without urgent ambition. Colleagues will confirm I’m assiduous to the point of exasperation, ceaselessly analytical and attentive to every word and every detail on every page. I’m first in, last out. As resources dwindle, my obsession with quality increases. I have never let the myriad expectations of the modern editor compromise the duties of the old-fashioned one. I am, no doubt, an utter pain in the arse. But it’s what gets me through the night.
When I joined MH as an arts journalist thirteen years ago, it was with a determination to transform the magazine from boorish gym fix to intelligent, broad-minded brand, as respected as it is relevant. Since then we’ve taken countless food, fashion, fitness and luxury brand extensions to newsstand. We’ve won awards for our writing, photography and design. Crucially, we’ve become the men’s market leader, selling more than our competitors combined for 17 consecutive ABC periods. For all this I am inordinately proud.
Recently, however, I’ve returned to the title’s roots – namely, wellbeing – albeit from a new perspective. In recent years we’ve trailblazed the conversation around male mental health. Last November, on the back of our #MendTheGap campaign, we commissioned the largest ever psychological survey of UK men and presented the disconcerting results to government. In June, I courted controversy with a piece entitled In Defence Of Men, highlighting the way men are disproportionately likely to die from cancer and how engaging with the #MeToo debate might improve our chances. In August, I worked with BBC Horizon on an award-winning documentary about the male suicide epidemic. It’s the most valuable work we’ve done.
So here I am, blowing my own trumpet after all. I hope you’ll forgive me. I also hope you’ll vote for me. If not for my sake, then for the tightest, humblest, most diligent and selfless team in the business. They deserve more props than they receive. I know everyone says it, but in this case it happens to be unquestionably true.