How did you get to where you are today?
By working hard, being self-critical and striving to improve. I was a tackle shop maggot-cleaning boy until I graduated from university and spotted an advert in Angler’s Mail for a trainee reporter (such posts existed 16 years ago). I contributed in various roles until the old editor retired in 2002. I gambled it was ‘now or never’to try and edit the title.
What are your main tasks?
I’m hands-on, so do 101 things, from subbing and proofing, commissioning, thrashing out ideas, sorting the news agenda and steering designs. Oh, and planning!
What are the most important things to know in your job?
Understanding what the team has on the go is crucial, plus an all-round awareness of the weird and wonderful world of coarse angling. I constantly think ‘Derek”, a late-40s reader: is this interesting for him?
How important are your contacts?
There are more fishing mags in WH Smith than football – it’s competitive! And despite being a huge participant sport you have to go back to people. Every contact needs different treatment – honesty and politeness is the best policy.
What’s your key to success?
Having a great memory – anglers, catches and methods. Most readers have fished for more than 20 years so they must see your magazine speaking with total authority. We have to spot and reveal the unusual, and what could help readers catch more fish.
Likes and dislikes of your job?
Like fishing, anything can happen, in an instant. I’m getting a buzz off improving sales figures, and staff enthusiasm. But when staff don’t learn from mistakes or I have to keep chasing to get something done I get annoyed. Readers’ positive comments make all frustrations worthwhile.