Focus on Pride with features editor Afua Adom
PRs are Afua Adom’s lifeblood! Read on to hear more about Pride’s features editor and her work on the “Black Glamour”…
About the publication:
Who reads it and how many of them are there?
I work for Pride Magazine which is a lifestyle title for women of colour, we sell about 60,000 copies a month and our readership is about 180,000 per month.
What subjects do you cover? What stories are you most interested in covering?
We cover entertainment, women’s issues, health, fashion, beauty and style. I want hear about all of those!
What makes you different from the other outlets in your sector?
We are the market leader because we are a lifestyle title for women of colour and the only one of it’s kind. Other magazine for women of colour tend to be hair or beauty focused but we encompass everything. We like to think we’re the Black Glamour!
How do you decide the content, front covers and headlines?
It really depends on the time of year really and which artist or actress is promoting something or has some material out. Headlines are determined by the theme of the magazine really and what features we have.
Do you produce a features list? Why? Why not?
We don’t have a forward features list because we work really fluidly and decide on themes pretty much by the time of year.
Do you use freelance contributions, and if so, are they for any particular section/type of work?
We do sometimes for our lifestyle or self-help features.
About your publication and freelance journalists:
Do you like freelance journalists to get in touch with you directly to pitch ideas? And if so, how? (What should the pitch include and any specifics about how they should send that information to you)
I like freelancers to e-mail me over a pitch, just a few lines but also detail who they are going to talk to, to get their info, don’t just tell me why you should write it.
Name the three most important attributes that make a freelance journalist stand out for you and would make you use them again?
I like when freelancers really know the title and what it’s about before they pitch to us. I also like someone who meets deadlines and knows the house style – that makes my life so much easier and would instantly make them my go-to.
If you can, tell us about the best approach you’ve seen from a freelance…and the worst…
The best approach I’ve had is typically from someone who came up with a really good idea, and wrote it up promptly and got it in on time. The worst approach is from random people who think they are journalists but aren’t and pitch any topic even if it doesn’t fit in the magazine. Annoying and boring.
Do you work closely with PRs (e.g. for supplements, round tables, events) or do you keep them at arm’s length?
I work really closely with PRs, they are my lifeblood!
If you could make one change to the way PRs deal with you, what would it be?
I wish PRs were a little more open-minded with what we feature in Pride. It’s sad to say but some companies (namely Topshop) and PRs still aren’t keen to send us images or clothes for shoots because they are just, to say it simply, racist. Just because we are a magazine for black women doesn’t mean we don’t reach a huge number of people. It’s silly and makes them look really small and petty.
How should a PR approach you about their client?
Send me an informative e-mail, not too long though! Don’t call and whitter on for ages about them – I will tune out.
What information/input from PRs is most useful to you?
Anything that affects women and the black community. Great images are a bonus and great case studies too.
When is the best time for PRs to contact you & what is your deadline for contributions?
Always around 10am – I’ve had a cup of tea and I’m receptive to most things by then. Get your ideas in by the end of the first week of the month please!
Describe a typical day at work: What are you editorial duties/responsibilities at the outlet (e.g. commissioning, subbing, features, interviewing)?
When I get in a read the papers, trawl through my e-mails and reply to anything I need to. Then I just get on with whatever I’m working on. I’ll chase up a PR for info or to confirm interviews. Sometimes I’ll be at the point where I have everything I need for a feature then I’ll spend the day immersing myself in it and putting it together or I’ll have to go out for an interview or a shoot. Closer to deadline I’ll sub the interns work and check over PDFs of my pages to make sure everything looks as it should. No day is ever the same but I love that.
What interests you most about your job?
I love the fact that my job is so varied. I can be writing career tips or interviewing Tinie Tempah but I love that. I also meet some great people along the way.
Where have you worked previously, and how did you end up in your current position?
Before here I was the Editor of Blackhair. I heard about this job through a really good friend of mine who works with me at Pride. She recommended me for the job, I came in for an interview and got it! It’s great working with friends, it made that first day so much easier.
Do you Twitter? Why, why not?
I have had a Twitter account for about and year and a half but only really got involved last week! I don’t love it but I know it’s necessary so I’ve finally bowed to pressure and just got on with it. I’m still getting to grips with the Twitter lingo but you can follow me @afuascot.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
Never give up! There was a time where I was working at Debenhams and I hated it, I was getting up at 4 and getting home at 7 and it was the worst job I ever had. All the time I was writing and trying to get a job in journalism. It felt like it was a million miles away and I never thought I would ever be working for a title I love so much and grew up with and now I am. If I could go back in time and tell my younger self that I would finally get there and all was okay I would have had a much happier time in my early 20s.
What media do you seek out 1st thing in the morning?
I am addicted to BBC Breakfast. Whether it’s Bill and Sian or Charlie and Susannah I have to have it on every morning.
If you could time travel what time would you go to?
I would go back to 1970s Accra, around the time of the rise of Afrobeat and when African independence really hit it’s stride. I’d have a massive Afro, huge butterfly glasses and be head to toe in African print. Bliss.