Focus interview with Hannah Fox, editorial assistant at Healthy
Healthy is a customer magazine for Holland & Barrett, published by River Publishing. This week, FeaturesExec caught up with Healthy’s editorial assistant, Hannah Fox, to find out a bit more about the magazine, what press releases she’d like to receive and what she has for breakfast!
About the publication:
Tell us a bit about Healthy magazine:
Healthy is the customer magazine for Holland & Barrett health food shops, and is sold exclusively in there and on their website. Despite this, we’re the UK’s top-selling magazine, with a circulation of around 180,000 readers. We pride ourselves on creating expert, credible content. Our features are often ailment-based but we also do lots on lifestyle changes and natural remedies for everyday complaints. The magazine is a lot like a natural health guru but we also have fun, beautiful-looking features, and all for the bargain price of £1.50.
How do you differ from other magazines?
We’re different from other customer magazines because we have a strict editorial policy whereby we don’t mention any brand names within the editorial copy of the magazine, even for products that are sold in Holland & Barrett. That way we can focus on producing fascinating, expert-led features without being distracted by brand names or prices.
Describe a typical reader for us:
We have a wide range of readers, from women in their 20s to men in their 40s and women in their 60s and 70s. However, the majority of readers are women, between the ages of 30 and 50.
What stories are you most interested in covering in the publication?
Natural health, ailments and alternative medicine
Weightloss and dieting
Fitness and exercise
Celebrity health stories
Supplements and health foods
Men’s, women’s, junior and senior health stories
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?
We produce eight issues a year, typically spending five to six weeks on putting the magazine together. We have a three month lead time at least, so ideas etc need to come in asap.
How do you decide the content, front covers and headlines?
We have a features meeting to decide what copy we’d like to put in the magazine. Our client, Holland & Barrett then has to sign off the synopsis before we starting commissioning and writing copy. All pages have to be signed off by Holland & Barrett too.
Do you produce a features list? (If not, why not)
We produce a theme list (ie how we will theme each issue) for the year.
Do you work closely with PRs?
To a certain extent. Especially with regard to PRs for charities, associations and clubs. Less so with PRs who are plugging a product that’s not sold in H&B.
What information/input from PRs is most useful to you?
Health events, new research/studies on health food products (sold in H&B), case-studies for people who have used a natural/alternative therapy to beat an ailment, new fitness trends, celeb health trends.
What’s the best starting point for a PR who wants to tell you about their client?
Send over an email and then follow up with a phone call. Send press releases/info to firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t send press releases to the generic email@example.com address as that is mainly used for readers to contact the magazine.
Do you have a PR pet hate?
PRs who haven’t done their research about the magazine, and don’t realise that we’re a customer publication for Holland & Barrett (and so aren’t going to want to talk about products that are only sold in Waitrose and Tesco for example!) Also, PRs that assume that just because they sent you some information/CD/DVD, it automatically means that we’re going to put it in the mag.
When is the best time for PRs to contact you & when is your deadline for contributions?
Any time during working hours (9.30am-6pm)
What are your editorial duties?
I write most of the news pages in the magazines as well as several larger features, collate reader questions for our Q&A page, write advertorials and openers, reply to reader letters and emails, take cuttings from the nationals on health stories, answer the phone, deal with PR enquiries and general administration.
What’s the most memorable work you’ve done?
Going to the Gambia to review a spa hotel
What interview or feature would you love the chance to do?
I’d love to interview Jamie Oliver about his various different campaigns, especially his healthy school dinners work. I love his recipes and have almost all his books!
What do you love about your work?
You learn something new with every issue you work on.
What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you?
Try everything once – you might not like it but at least you’ll know either way!
What did you have for breakfast?
Porridge with chopped brazil nuts
What books are on your bedside table, magazines in your bag or blogs on your screen?
The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood (bedside table)
Perfume: the story of a murderer by Patrick Suskind (bag)