John Welsh, the new editor of Travel Trade Gazette, urged students to build up their contacts and think about writing for B2B magazines.
Welsh described how he managed to turn around RIBA Journal and Property Week and the challenge of retaining long-serving staff who were used to the previous regime.
“I’m not particularly interested in working for market-leading magazines; I find they are about no change,” he said. “What interests me about magazines and newspapers is spotting those that are particularly shabby and tired that you can turn around. It’s sometimes a grim process when you join a newspaper or magazine which people have been on for 15 years and there is a new editor who is sometimes younger than them. One of the challenges is to bring the staff with you.”
He said he found the content of Property Week “shockingly boring” at first and described how he livened up the pages with scoops such as one about property tycoon Donald Trump.
He was also surprised at the level of New Woman editor Sara Cremer told students not to rule out working for Rail magazine, Classic Ford or the Rhondda Leader if they wanted to break into women’s glossies, because all three titles appear on the CVs of her current team.
Having done a brief stint on the Rhondda Leader in Pontypridd herself, Cremer said: “Don’t feel you have to start on consumer magazines. Often in business-to-business and specialist magazines, people get very good training.
We’ve just taken a sub from Classic Ford and our creative director got their first job on Rail.”
Cremer said enthusiasm, great ideas and writing ability were crucial to clinching a job on New Woman. “Don’t be afraid to let your enthusiasm shine through, it’s not uncool. Every time we advertise, we get loads of applications, and most will only be ‘all right’.
It takes a few simple steps to stand out.
Everything you send in should show you can write and for New Woman, that means getting a bit of tone into your article.”
She said she expected her writers to be able to describe a New Woman reader “right down to the kind of knickers she’s wearing”.
IPC editorial director Mike Soutar gave advice on how to break into journalism and stressed the importance of versatility. A former editor of FHMand USMaxim, he pointed out that his first job in journalism was writing horoscopes for Secrets, a romantic fiction magazine for old ladies.
He offered advice on finding a job in journalism from a selection of IPC editors.
Woman and Home editor Sue James told trainees to be tenacious, do their homework and offer their services for free. TV Times editor Mike Hollingsworth told them to get the name of their prospective editor right and “never give up”.
inaccuracy and balance. “I banned any use of unnamed sources if it was critical about a commercial competitor,” he said. “A third of the staff left pretty rapidly, a third of the staff took a little longer to get through the door and a third of the staff stayed on.”
He also broke tradition by laying out pages on the floor. “They said, ‘why are there pages on the floor?’ I said, ‘well, if Anna Wintour does it, so can I’.”
Welsh encouraged students to think about working on B2B magazines and gain a speciality rather than the “scattergun” news approach of the nationals.