For the Love of Magazines

I’ve always loved magazines. Sport, lifestyle, fashion, indie, trashy, whatever – if it’s printed on glossy paper, I’m pretty much guaranteed to read it. Before I’d finished high school, I’d even considered studying journalism. Magazines have been on my radar for a while, but once my opportunity to be a writer passed, I had kind of dismissed a career within the magazine industry altogether. Fast forward a few years and I found myself on the MSc Publishing course, considering a career within my other passion: books. However, I could never pin-point quite what I wanted to do with a career in book publishing. Editing? No chance. Sales? I know I can sell things, but I don’t exactly enjoy it. Nothing within book publishing was really igniting a spark. In our second semester, we were given the opportunity to produce our own product; a book or a magazine. I, of course, chose a magazine. Kudos has to be given to Nikki Simpson here – her unfaltering enthusiasm and adoration of magazines totally rubbed off on me and gave me the confidence boost I needed, I think!

I loved the whole process of creating my magazine – deciding on a focus, finding interviewees, sourcing photos (which would eventually come in handy for my placement!), designing a layout, writing features – I loved it all. I took full creative control and decided to do everything myself. My magazine isn’t the best magazine ever printed, but what it did was help me decide – finally! – that I wanted to pursue a career in the magazine industry. Editing a magazine is a lot less taxing and a whole lot more enjoyable than editing a manuscript.

When it came to choosing a placement, I had quite a difficult time. I didn’t have the confidence to approach a magazine publisher myself, so I spent a lot of time waiting around hoping for one to come up. In the end, I ended up applying for mainly book publishers, and was lucky enough to get a place on one of them. But, as these things do, a placement came up for a magazine publisher! 24 hours later, I was sitting in the office with Sue Hitchen, an absolute superwoman and managing director of The Media Company. The Media Company publishes a monthly food magazine, Foodies, and the annual Edinburgh Festivals magazine, as well as organising Foodies festivals in several cities across the UK.

I’ve been with Sue and her amazing team for three weeks now and I can’t quite believe everything I’ve done in this time. I started researching pictures – which has involved, amongst other things, talking with Paralympic athletes, PRs for Lewis Capaldi and Florence Welsh, comedians and, a little less exciting, phoning every restaurant in Edinburgh asking for photographs of their food! I’ve also written several articles, and helped to co-write a piece with deputy editor and absolute angel, Anna. I’ve moved on to sub-editing too, where my old friend InDesign has proved very useful. I would love a career that’s largely focused on design and the designer over at Media Co., Vicky, has been absolutely amazing – she’s been so encouraging and has been showing me some wee tips and tricks, too. Vicky has a CV that I’m totally envious of – in the 90s she worked for Radio Times and NME – so I have been taking her every word as bible.

I have surprised myself on this placement, to be honest. I’ve been able to complete all the tasks that have been asked of me, and I’ve even been able to help some of the team in the office with InDesign stuff, too – something I never, ever expected. When Edinburgh Festivals mag goes to print, my time in the Media Company office will no doubt come to an end – but I’ve been kept on as a reviewer for Fringe shows so I’m glad I’ll be maintaining the friendships and connections I’ve made for a little longer. It’s been so massively rewarding and I am so glad I held off and waited for the right placement to come along.

Check out Edinburgh Festivals Magazine in August to read more of my unforgettable, inspiring, beautiful words.

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