During my time spent on the Magazine Publishing module, I had decided that working in the magazine industry was for me and so when this opportunity to work with PPA Scotland came up I jumped at the chance. For those of you who don’t know, the PPA – otherwise known as the Professional Publishers Association – is the trade body for magazine publishers and do events, training, promotion, lobbying, research and everything else they can to support the industry.
My role as a Project Executive was to help conduct a survey alongside PPA Scotland’s Business Manager, Nikki Simpson, which explored the current landscape of the Scottish magazine publishing industry to use in aggregate to lobby Government and encourage growth and investment in the industry. The findings from this report will be presented at Magfest Issue 3 this September – so no pressure then!
Initially, I was tasked with researching and collating a database of 160 magazine publishing companies throughout Scotland. I’ll admit, I was somewhat daunted at the beginning, but as I became more invested in the project, it was really intriguing to discover just how rich and varied the Scottish magazine publishing industry is. I was charged with creating the database: ensuring we had relevant contacts, the number of titles each company produced, and circulation and distribution figures, alongside any other interesting business diversifications. This experience was invaluable to gaining a comprehensive understanding of the Scottish magazine industry and also helped me overcome my fear of the much-feared Microsoft Excel.
Once the database was completed, I worked with Nikki to produce a question and transcript guide for the telephone interviews with each company. Having perfected my best phone-voice, I was tasked with phoning a selection of the companies researched to gain their perspectives and opinions. Every individual I spoke to couldn’t have been nicer and offered some really intriguing insights regarding how they feel the Scottish magazine industry will develop in the future as well as learning how they became involved in the industry themselves.
This placement was an amazing opportunity that allowed me to build on my office and people skills and has really helped me to hone in on the industry I want to work in, specifically regarding contract publishing. It has taught me that if you put in the work, time and remain friendly and approachable; you can learn so much and establish business connections with others. I no longer fear the dreaded ‘networking’ phrase as much as I used to.
The results of this survey are still being analysed at the moment but judging from some of views raised, I believe it will help to generate a really rich and interesting report for Magfest. A perk of this placement is that I get to attend Magfest in September so I’m really looking forward to see how people react to the survey. I can only pray Nikki and some of the others aren’t haunted by my phone voice.
All I can say is, if in the future you get an opportunity to work with PPA Scotland, go for it! You’ll learn just how many talented people work in the Scottish magazine publishing industry.