Lou Ford - Deputy editor, Cosmopolitan

03.02.05

After surviving the mayhem of Oxford Circus at rush hour, I make it
to my desk for 9.15, coffee in hand. Check my email then tackle my
in-tray – it’s piled high with the last of April’s copy for me to edit
and a couple of proofs left over from last night.

There is a week to go until press day, so everything gets
progressively more hectic from here on in. The morning evaporates as I
bash through the copy and take endless calls from PRs desperate to get
their client’s latest variety of soup/home jukebox contraption/holidays
to Rwanda into the magazine.

Editor Sam Baker and I have a lunch
date with Irma Kurtz, Cosmopolitan ‘s legendary agony columnist. I’m
glad to say Irma’s as much of a live wire in real life as she is on the
page.

She’s particularly enthused about the High Heel Vote
campaign we’re running in the magazine to persuade young women to vote
in the coming general election (currently, only one in five 18 to
24-year-old women say they’ll vote).

Back at my desk, my keyboard
has disappeared under a deluge of new proofs. The chief sub
materialises the minute I sit down to tell me how urgent they all are,
so I get reading – mentally tuning out Keane, current office stereo
darlings.

It’s 9pm by the time I get home, so I order in a curry
and a Cobra and watch in astonishment as David Dimbleby allows a guest
in the audience of Question Time to propose to his girlfriend live on
air.

04.02.05

Everyone arrives today armed with posh frocks and killer heels for
the National Magazine Company’s annual awards ceremony, The Eagles.

It’s Sam’s last day in the office before she flies to New York for
Fashion Week, so the pressure is on to get as much through to her as
possible. Cosmopolitan has a lot of in-depth features and there is a
lot to get through today.

We’re busy recruiting on the subs desk
at the moment, so I have a brief meeting with our chief sub, Michaela
Twite, to discuss who we will be interviewing. Afterwards we both sit
down with Sam to plan the tactics for the following week – it’s like a
military operation, organising shipments of proofs and timetabling
feedback to allow for time differences.

Sam and I then look at
the cover images for April with art director Andy Greenhouse. It’s a
unanimous decision, which is always a good sign.

After staying
late to read one final proof with Sam, we both make it to Grosvenor
House in time for a glass of champagne before taking our seats.

Host
Jonathan Ross gets a phenomenal reaction from the audience when he
walks on stage (his identity had been kept secret). He manages to be
both charming and hilariously foul-mouthed all night. The highlight of
the evening is when Jan Adcock, Cosmopolitan ‘s group publisher, teases
Ross onstage about posing for Cosmo’s naked male centrefolds special in
June. Without any hesitation, he drops his trousers and strikes a few
poses in his underpants – a true pro.

07.02.05

It’s Monday morning and I feel like a teacher in an unruly
classroom, as everyone huddles in groups swapping gossip from Friday
night.

Our production controller tells me we have to change the April
flatplan to accommodate ad changes. I email Sam in New York to pass the
new running order by her and get back to copy editing, proof reading
and cromalin checking.

Leave the office about 7.30pm with
features editor Andreina Cordani for a bar in Soho to attend the launch
of a sex book written by one of our contributors. It’s a vibrant
affair, with burlesque dancers running around in g-strings and nipple
tassels.

After a couple of the bespoke cocktails, I leave for home, carrying an “interesting” goody bag.

08.02.05

Grazia , the new “glossy weekly” launches today, and several people
picked up a copy on the way to work. It is, at the very least, a brave
move to try and create a whole new market, but the general consensus
is, while some parts hit, others miss.

After hitting the email to chase writers for May copy, I settle back to finish off the last of April.

Features
are commissioning May, mopping up April’s lastminute stuff (usually
celeb interviews), and researching ideas for next week’s initial June
features meeting. The fashion and beauty departments are in jet lag
purgatory, having just returned from shooting their summer stories
abroad, the planning and execution of which are exhausting.

I’ve
worked on newspapers and business weeklies, but neither compares to
Cosmo for sheer, relentless slog and constant creativity. And since Sam
took over as editor in July, the atmosphere is one of optimism and
energy.

News begins to filter through the office this afternoon
about our imminent ABC figure-it looks like Cosmopolitan is about to
announce its highest circulation figure for over 20 years! Everyone
leaves work on a real high.

09.02.05

Check my email first thing for overnight feedback from Sam in New
York. Go over to art and subs to ensure they’re making the changes
she’s requested to layouts/proofs.

After completing a travel piece, I get going on the April dummy,
checking for clashes in design, heads, slugs, sells, pictures,
captions, pull quotes – everything, basically. There will inevitably be
some, and they need to be altered asap.

Lunch at my desk again-oh, the glamour – while trawling various magazines and newspapers.

In
the afternoon we interview the first senior sub candidate, which goes
well. Back at my desk, and the inevitable proofs are waiting. Good job
I actually enjoy reading them!

I’m still in front of my computer
at 8pm, but I’m not alone, there’s usually a couple of features
writers, subs and designers to keep me company.We’re just waiting on a
couple of pieces for April, so I go through the daily copy deadlines
for May to see what I’m owed. Vow to chase first thing.

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