EDITORS’ EDITOR STATEMENTS 2019
MELISSA DENES – EDITOR, GUARDIAN WEEKEND
Guardian Weekend readers are among the smartest, most demanding in the business. They want surprises, striking covers, powerful memoir, reporting that moves the dial. Oh, and Blind Date (with kissing), Experience (My dog stole my tractor; I had an erection for three weeks), fashion, beauty, homes, gardens, relationships: everything. We push ourselves to find a distinctly Weekend way of looking at the world - from our annual conversations special (Hillary Clinton talking to Mary Beard; Hannah Gadsby with Roxane Gay) to politicians doing Blind Date (in which Diane Abbott gave Rory Stewart 7/10).
Recent political upheavals mean we’ve worked hard to bring the fun and joy (while not shying away from the serious), and to reach new audiences. Last summer’s gal-dem takeover put on 9K in sales; this year’s climate issue brought together Greta Thunberg and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. We ran Taylor Swift’s first UK interview in three years, the definitive Love Island piece by Lena Dunham, and were the first to talk to Jacinda Ardern after the Christchurch attacks. We’ve led the way on sustainable fashion, reinventing Jess Cartner-Morley’s column - and in our discussion of mental health: columnist Hannah Jane Parkinson’s award-winning piece ‘It’s nothing like a broken leg’ reached a million people.
I’ve been editing the magazine for over six years (or 330 covers) and our readers are quick to tell us what we got right and wrong. Online, we are the most-read Guardian print section at the weekend, averaging 2m page views. An audience that size brings great scrutiny, but the rewards can be huge. For instance: that piece you love and honed for months going live and being shared everywhere; that scribble in the art director’s notebook turning into an award-winning cover; that young contributor you rate growing in confidence. It’s been a thrill to work with some great writers, from Jon Ronson to Meera Sodha, Zadie Smith to Clive James, Molly Ringwald to Elena Ferrante. But the biggest kick comes from working with such an inventive, collaborative, tireless team. The best Weekends have a bit of all of us in them.
ANDY DIXON – EDITOR – RUNNER’S WORLD
When I joined Runner’s World as Editor in 2007 I actually didn’t actually know much (okay, anything) about running. I’m still a bit surprised I got the gig. I thought it was mainly about serious-looking men in too short shorts. As I became a runner myself, I realised it is a much broader and welcoming church and experienced its benefits first-hand – I got fitter, cut my stress levels, gained confidence, watched my beer gut shrink a bit and made a lot of new friends.
It’s changed my life for the better, and my aim as editor has simply been to convert as many people as possible to the potential of this wonderful activity. Any sport that allows you to run a marathon around the vineyards of Bordeaux while quaffing vintage wine at each mile has got to be celebrated, right?
The last 12 years have had some great highlights – we’ve taken RW to its highest-ever ABC figure (and back again), won industry awards, launched profitable brand extensions like bookazines, events and more recently the RW Podcast (Hearst UK’s first), and organised the pacemakers that help runners come through the London Marathon smiling. We celebrated our 25th anniversary issue by somehow persuading Sir Mo Farah to don a wig as a 1990s runner on the cover. That all this has been done by an editorial team of nine is a true testament to their incredible work ethic and unquenchable passion for the subject.
Like in any marathon, there have been some tough moments – there was an online petition demanding an issue be pulped, or a feature on race cheating that managed to infuriate the whole parkrun community.
But what makes me most proud and makes the job endlessly meaningful is hearing how we’ve made (however small) a difference to people’s lives. In fact, the letters page is still one of my favourite pages in the magazine (and I’m happy to say we’ve never had to make any up).
And ultimately that’s why the last 12 years have been such a blast, because I really do love what I do.
EDWARD ENNINFUL – EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, BRITISH VOGUE
Firstly, thank you for shortlisting me for the BSME Editors’ Editor of the Year Award. I am very honoured to be considered.
I joined British Vogue in 2017 to edit the century-old fashion bible – I am the first person of colour, first man and first gay man to ever hold the post. My appointment shook up the industry and led to a summer of speculation, media headlines and endless gossip-column inches. Despite the media attention, I have stood strong to my initial vision and ambition for the magazine.
My vision for British Vogue was to make the magazine reflect Britain – featuring women of every colour, background, age and size – mirroring what I see every day on the streets of London.
More inclusive does not mean inferior quality, or “down-market”, it means making the magazine become more accessible and relevant to a wider group of people. Vogue has and always will be the Fashion Bible and women of all ages and backgrounds have trusted its editorial for decades. I feel I have brought British Vogue back to its origins – where every woman can find herself within the pages, to dream, to enjoy and to feel safe and represented within its pages.
Since I started, I’ve built a diverse editorial team comprised of the most passionate and hardworking people in the industry. Together, we have created the New British Vogue, which continues to go from strength to strength. British Vogue has attracted global attention and featured blockbuster stars, such as pop phenomenon Ariana Grande, media mogul Oprah Winfrey (at 64 years old) and the entire Beckham family (including the dog).
In autumn of this year, Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Sussex guest-edited the September issue of British Vogue in our inaugural Forces for Change issue, championing 15 incredible women, who were handpicked by the Duchess herself. This issue set the news agenda for weeks, provoking debate in the wider media and – in an age where print media is challenged – I was proud that British Vogue created a global conversation.
The September issue sold out after 12 days – a record at Condé Nast.
Looking ahead, I want to break more barriers, challenge the status quo, and create visually arresting fashion shoots that take readers breaths’ away. I want to uplift, empower and inspire millennials, and I want to create dreams that are achievable to all.
Thank you for considering me, and for shortlisting me for this incredible prestigious honour.
JONNY ENSALL – EDITOR, EASYJET TRAVELLER
Flying is a predictable experience. The queues, the security, that endless snaking slog through duty free on the way to the departure gate. So, when you’re on a plane and you reach into the seatback for the magazine, it’s a pleasant surprise when it’s actually quite interesting. But what if it could be more than ‘interesting’? What if that magazine was irreverent, warm-hearted and authentic in a way you’d not encountered before? What if it was packed with brilliant young writers and eye-popping photography, and its features on Spanish nuns secretly making Europe’s best cakes, Swedish chefs preparing luxury eco-communes for the end of the world and Croatian aquaphobes braving the sea for the first time were the most human stories you’d read all year? What if it was actually your favourite magazine, and you started barging past perfume counter assistants and dawdling French school groups on your way to a cramped flight to Malaga just to read it?
It’s a lot of what-ifs, but in the two years I’ve been editor of easyJet Traveller that’s been my aim: to redesign an ‘interesting’ magazine, turning it into a dazzling bible for six million savvy, curious and upwardly mobile readers a month, and a digital beacon for millions more. In December I launched our ‘best-of’ awards – a joint print and social video project that uncovered gems from an arty public toilet in Malta to an artisanal cat café in Edinburgh, and generated headlines everywhere from Mail Online to Azerbaijani TV. In turn, advertisers have sought to be part of our success. In July we published a 220-page monster – easily the largest and most profitable single issue in our 20-year history. If I deserve this award, it’s for my somewhat audacious attempt to make an orange-tinted airline mag an influential, inspirational, even iconoclastic pan-European powerhouse. And the next time I see someone barging past a French school group, I’ll assume it’s worked.
LAURA ROWE – EDITOR, OLIVE MAGAZINE
You don’t go into journalism to become an editor – well I didn’t – I wanted to write and tell stories. But a decade on, and four years as olive’s captain, I find I’m flexing muscles I never knew I had. And love the job all the more for that.
Aside from producing 13 magazines, and a supplement, this past year, with my exceptionally talented team – packed with beautifully shot, seriously delicious recipes; recommendations for restaurants across the UK; and award-winning travel features – we've developed even more ways to engage to our incredibly passionate foodie audience. Here are just three of the personal innovations that I’ve been particularly proud of:
I launched the olive magazine Chef Awards in 2018 as an antidote to the same restaurant awards you see churned out. These were about the people and their stories – not back-slapping already famous, lauded chefs – as nominated by our readers, with forward-thinking, not flippant, categories: from ‘Sustainable Star’, who cares about the planet as much as the plate, to ‘Community Champion’, who is giving back to and connecting with the people around them. Not only did this produce great content and award those underdogs who really deserved recognition, but it also brought in a sponsor and a 3.7m PR reach.
I launched the olive Supermarket Wine Awards in 2019 – the first of its kind in our sector – celebrating the best affordable and accessible bottles. After tasting 173 wines (I like to go above and beyond!) we’ve found some brilliant wines for our readers, and secured brand licencing.
Our podcast, which I launched in 2017 after spotting a gap in the market, is now in a real editorial groove (covering everything from fermentation, food photography and Filipino cuisine, to mental health and its connection to gut health) and is profitable - a rare feat on this saturated platform!
My mission is to be creative and commercially savvy – to ensure that not only am I producing great content for olive’s growing audience right now, but by making it financially successful, too, I’m ensuring that I can continue to do that for years to come.
TERRI WHITE - EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, EMPIRE
All I ever wanted to be was a magazine editor, long before I knew what editors even did. But I knew what I felt when I opened J17 and Smash Hits. I felt hope, joy, that I belonged.
It’s been nineteen years since I entered magazines as a PA and twenty-nine since I first dreamed of becoming an editor, but my hope, joy and sense of belonging remains. Editing EMPIRE has caused it to swell.
I edited before - ShortList and Time Out New York - but there has been no gig as difficult and life-affirming as EMPIRE. My brief was simple: sure, change it. But don’t you dare break it. A real risk with an audience (and team) that was long-standing and committed to a way of things being done.
My vision: broaden the church. Turn it from a magazine for (male) film obsessives to a brand for all film lovers. To make everyone who loves film feel that EMPIRE was home. To make the title representative and diverse, both in those featured and those who created it. It has tested every single one of my skills.
And while we’ve had an extraordinary year for our 30th anniversary – collaborating with filmmakers like Martin Scorsese, James Cameron, Patty Jenkins, Spike Lee, Jordan Peele on print specials, videos, podcasts and events – and landing huge world exclusives, what drives me is actually much more simple (and much less flashy!). When you nail a headline, sign off a galley that sings. I touch every page, every word, every layout in EMPIRE. I believe you edit with your fingers in the ink as well as your eye on the horizon. The pay off? The connection that only magazines can achieve. When a reader tells you that you’ve been part of the fabric of their life for decades. That you’ve never felt fresher. And when new readers tell you that they never thought your gang was for them. Until now.
There is no job in the world like editing a magazine. And there is no job in the world like being editor of EMPIRE.