Focus interview with Cathy Ranson, editor of Sunshine Magazine
Sunshine Magazine is a triannual community magazine for parents and carers of children aged 0 to 11 years of age in Hillingdon.
The magazine contains local information, ideas and advice to make family life more enjoyable.
This week, FeaturesExec interviewed Sunshine editor, Cathy Ranson. Here she tells us a bit more about the magazine, the phrase she uses too often, and how she’d love to have a go at Brad Pitt!
About the publication:
How do you differ from other parenting magazines?
Sunshine is a free local community magazine that is glossy, has top quality writing and high production values. The distribution network is second to none and it really gets results.
Describe a typical reader for us:
Parents or carers of babies and children in primary school. They care about their kids and want to have fun out and about in the local community.
What stories are you most interested in covering in the publication?
Travel, health, life, food, beauty, education, parenting, fun, out and about – anything that relates to being a parent.
How does the editorial process run? Do you have specific days when you focus on different aspects of the magazine, or is the planning on a much more ad-hoc basis?
The process runs smoothly but is quite ad-hoc!
How do you decide the content, front covers and headlines?
Content depends on what’s in the news, what parents tell us they want to read about and what we think might interest families. Front covers are always shot on location locally, using local models, clothes from local shops and high quality photography and a good mix of models to reflect the ethnic diversity of London.
Do you produce a features list?
Our features list includes the regular strands Parenting, Education, Health, Fun, Out & About. Our feature lists are produced two months prior to publication.
Do you work closely with PRs?
Yes. Press releases that PRs send out are always really useful and even if they’re not relevant at that time we do keep them for future use.
What information/input from PRs is most useful to you?
Feature suggestions, releases, samples.
What’s the best starting point for a PR who wants to tell you about their client?
Email is always a good place to start.
Do you have a PR pet hate?
Only a minor one. Some PR’s leave loads of messages on the office line instead of calling the mobile (number is on the message) and getting me straight away. I’m much more likely to have a chat on the mobile any time than find time to call you back when I’m about to go to press.
When is the best time for PRs to contact you & when is your deadline for contributions?
Email any time. That’s the best way to get in touch.
What are your editorial duties/responsibilities at the magazine (e.g. commissioning, nibs, subbing, features, interviewing etc)?
I’m the editor and conduct interviews, commission features etc.
What do you love about your work?
I love being my own boss, being creative and seeing the published magazine come together.
Where have you worked previously, and how did you end up in your current position?
I worked in customer magazines as a publisher on foodie and banking titles such as The Asda Magazine, Lloyds TSB Magazine and English Heritage Magazine. I left to have my son and set up my own magazine for families living in the second largest London borough.
What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you?
There’s no such word as can’t!
I’d love to have a go at…
A phrase I use far too often is…
No, I can’t play with you right now I’m working.
What’s your idea of a relaxing day off?
Being on holiday anyway far away from the computer!