Focus on South Wales Argus with magazines and special publications editor Jo Barnes
Jo Barnes, magazines and special publications editor for Newsquest Wales and Gloucestershire, talks about the magazines she edits along with her advice for PRs.
About the publication:
Who reads it and how many of them are there?
I edit three glossy magazines (Monmouthshire County Life, Vale County Life and Explore) along with Business Update, which is a bimonthly supplement of the South Wales Argus. The readers of each of these titles vary.
Which areas do you cover?
Monmouthshire, the Vale of Glamorgan, the former county of Gwent and, for Explore, the world! It’s a travel magazine I edit on behalf of Cardiff Airport.
Do you work closely with PRs (e.g. for supplements, events) or do you keep them at arm’s length?
I tend to work closely with PRs – especially those based in South Wales. My editorial team consists of me and I have no budget for freelancers so good PR people, who know how to write a good piece without over-egging their client’s message, are invaluable. As are work experience students!
Do you have any advice for PRs?
Know the area of the product you are trying to sell in to. Invariably PRs from London phone me expecting me to shout ‘hurrah’ when faced with a story from somewhere like Taunton! It may well be out west – but for me it’s in a completely different country.
How should a PR approach you about their client?
Email is best.
Do you have a PR pet hate?
I hate receiving emails with no covering note telling me what the attachment is about. And I also hate it when there is no mention of where the person or company is from, meaning I have to waste time contacting the agency to find out if the piece is relevant to me – or just spike it.
What interests you most about your job?
It is varied. I get to meet some incredibly interesting people and I get to do some really fun things.
What was your first job?
My first ever job was working in a chip shop in Edinburgh. And no, I’ve never even seen a deep fried Mars bar. My first job in the world of journalism was as a trainee on the Dawlish Gazette and Teignmouth News.
I’d like to have a go at…
All sorts of things. In my time I’ve been parascending with the RAF, carriage driving, tank driving, cycling through Pembrokeshire, meeting Father Christmas in Lapland, interviewing celebs in London. I’m open to all sorts of ideas – as long as they are relevant to my titles, of course!
If you were stranded on a desert island, what one thing would you hope to have with you?
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