Focus Interview with Denice Currie, editor of Sprouts

Denice Currie is editor of Sprouts, a bimonthly magazine aimed at parents of under-5s across East Anglia. She publishes two editions, one for Norfolk and one for Suffolk which cover topical features, local listings and informative articles.

Denice started the magazine after having children of her own and realising there was a gap in the market. Here she tells us about the magazine, her PR pet hate and how she’d love to cuddle a koala.

About the publication:

How do you differ from other parenting magazines?
We’re much better, of course! Sprouts is quite unique in terms of our distribution, which is free to our subscriber base. Nurseries, playcentres, health visitors and other early years settings subscribe to receive copies in specific quantities – meaning virtually every copy gets straight into the hands of parents with pre-schoolers, from an already trusted source.

Describe a typical reader for us:
I believe all mums are different although many will share the same concerns, interests or experiences. Sprouts readers generally have at least one little one under-5 but many have older kids too or may be planning another baby.

What stories are you most interested in covering in the publication?
Anything of relevance to parents, either in terms of their children or their own sanity!

How does the editorial process run?
Quite smoothly considering!

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?
Flatplans are generally done six weeks in advance. We have some regular features, like the book reviews, recipe section, etc then decide on articles depending on the season, any topical threads, reader feedback, etc.

Do you produce a features list?
Yes, we’re just finalising our forward feature list for 2009 – but we always retain flexibility to add content to issues on a more ad hoc basis too.

About PRs:

Do you work closely with PRs?
Yes, we’re always happy to hear feature ideas and receive product news.

What information/input from PRs is most useful to you?
Product and service news, survey commissions relevant to the parenting audience – that type of stuff.

What’s the best starting point for a PR who wants to tell you about their client?
Drop us an e-mail.

Do you have a PR pet hate?
When you get sent stuff that’s clearly not relevant for the publication – just shows they haven’t done their homework. It’s not a ‘hate’ really, more a minor annoyance!

When is the best time for PRs to contact you & when is your deadline for contributions?
Best before 3pm. Deadlines are rolling as we’re bi-monthly and not particularly news-led. If something misses the current issue, it can always go in the next.

About you:

What are your editorial duties/responsibilities at the magazine (e.g. commissioning, nibs, subbing, features, interviewing etc)?
All of that plus tea-making and pretty much everything else! We’re a small, independent business so there’s no room for titles and role specs!

What do you love about your work?
When readers say such nice things! It’s what inspires me to keep going when I’m still up writing at 3am!

Where have you worked previously, and how did you end up in your current position?
Started out as a journalist then moved over into PR. Worked my way up the corporate ladder with in-house comms roles in the finance, energy and transport sectors. Felt I might die of boredom so started Sprouts after having my own little ones and realizing there was such a gap in the market for a specifically-focused pre-school title.

What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you?
You always regret the things you didn’t do, more than those you did.

I’d love to have a go at…
cuddling a koala. They’re just so-oooo cute!

A phrase I use far too often is…
three sugars please.
[img|jpg|Denice Currie & Sprouts]

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