The buzz (and smell) of magazine publishing is what it’s all about for Irish Racer Magazine editor Paul Lindsay. He’s experienced in journalism, photojournalism and even making cups of tea, so park up and get to know the feature based motorcycle magazine…
About the publication:
Who reads it and how many of them are there?
We publish 10 issues a year of Irish Racer, which is now in it’s 11th year. It’s a feature based motorcycle magazine so we attract readers from 16 to 90!
What subjects do you cover? What stories are you most interested in covering?
We review British and World Superbikes, MotoGP and the pure Road Racing scene locally in Ireland, at the TT and in the Far East, but we pride ourselves on lifestyle stories, giving our readers an insight to the men (and women) behind the helmets. We have six or seven very interesting columnists across all the aforementioned disciplines like Cal Crutchlow, Jonathan Rea, Eugene Laverty, Jeremy McWilliams and Guy Martin.
What makes you different from the other outlets in your sector?
In Ireland (both North and South) I feel we appeal to a more affluent and contemporary demographic, and as sole traders, with only three full time staff we aspire to challenge the big hitters from the upmarket publishing houses in the UK. It’s always good to set the bar high… and we’re not far away from them.
How do you decide the content, front covers and headlines?
The market dictates the copy and I also have three top class freelance journalists working with me who are always throwing us great ideas. I also trawl the newsstands, even looking at women’s magazines to get new ideas – no point trying to reinvent the wheel!
Do you produce a features list? Why? Why not?
We work on a two month cycle with planning and leave space for ad hoc last minute ideas as this industry throws up some serious curve balls. It’s hard to plan too far ahead without putting a line through everything and starting over.
About you and freelance journalists:
Do you pay for contributions from freelance journalists?
Most of our contributors are freelance, so I evenly distribute the work to the hand-picked few. But if someone emailed me a top quality feature outside the norm, then yes… the door is always open for new exciting material.
Do you like freelance journalists to get in touch with you directly to pitch ideas? And if so, how?
I don’t like ‘time suckers’ on the phone. I don’t take very many calls when I’m working as this industry is all about deadlines and 15-hour days. Just email me and I’ll always reply.
Name the three most important attributes that make a freelance journalist stand out for you and would make you use them again?
Well structured articles within 100 words of the specified word count and inside the deadline. That’s all we ask.
If you can, tell us about the best approach you’ve seen from a freelance…and the worst…
The worst is when we kindly say ‘no thanks’ then they turn up at the office like Jack Nicholson from the Shining. Most people know when they haven’t got the flair to write articles; it’s the 5000 digital camera buffs who think they are professional photographers. The best journalists don’t need to sell themselves – we chase them!
Do you work closely with PRs (e.g. for supplements, round tables, events) or do you keep them at arm’s length?
We do a bit of PR ourselves so yes.
If you could make one change to the way PRs deal with you, what would it be?
PR companies educating themselves on the topic they are paid to promote. Some are laughable in this industry.
How should a PR approach you about their client?
Email first, followed up by a call.
What information/input from PRs is most useful to you?
Short, well informed, up-to-date copy and good quality images to back it up.
When is the best time for PRs to contact you & what is your deadline for contributions?
Deadline is usually second Monday of the month and as before, I prefer the information emailed.
Describe a typical day at work: What are you editorial duties/responsibilities at the outlet?
In a small publishing company it’s anything from writing features, editing, picture editing, setting out the title pagination, interviewing; even taking the odd feature image on location to speed up the process (I’ve worked as a photo-journalist as well). Proof reading, discussing layout with designers, working with print companies, signing off proofs and even merchandising at times. And making the production manager cups of tea, or pouring Red Bull down his neck on deadline night to keep him awake!
What interests you most about your job?
The buzz (and smell) of seeing that first copy roll of the press every month. It lasts all of five minutes, in which time, I’ve already written down a list of ‘I don’t likes’ to annoy everyone in the office; then it’s into the next job. As simple as that.
Where have you worked previously, and how did you end up in your current position?
Long story. Started life as an electrician. I then worked freelance and part time as a photo-journalist and followed my passion – so here we are 11 years later with quite a few more grey hairs.
Do you Twitter? Why, why not?
Yes a lot, to the frustration of my wife. I need therapy…
What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
Be careful what you wish for…
What media do you seek out 1st thing in the morning?
Sometimes I’d rather not see it. A quiet local coffee shop and a trawl through my emails on the Berry. I actually hate mornings to be honest. Give me 10.30am to midnight – I’m happier with that.
If you could time travel what time would you go to?
The ’60s looked like fun without all the worry. Great music, great style and no one seemed to have any hang-ups. I’d have some of that…
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