FRANCE magazine celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2010 – editor Carolyn Boyd tells FeaturesExec how the magazine differs from other travel magazines.
About FRANCE magazine:
How do you differ from other publications in your sector?
FRANCE Magazine is exclusively about enjoying the best bits of France – from holidays to food, culture and language. Unlike our sister publications and competitors we do not cover property and expat issues. We were established in 1990, so are celebrating our 20th anniversary this year – showing the enduring appeal of the subject and a readership that is constantly renewing itself.
What was the motivation behind the launch?
To give readers the inside knowledge of France – the places to visit, things to see and experiences to enjoy. Other publications just do not provide the depth that we do.
Describe a typical reader for us:
Our typical reader adores everything about France – from the countryside to the city, from the history to the language and the gastronomy from breakfast through to dinner. Readers are typically aged between 40 and 70, but we are also attracting families who are starting to make France their first choice holiday destination
What stories are you most interested in covering in the publication?
We cover a wide range of travel-related and cultural topics, and are happy to hear of anything France-related.
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?
Our features are commissioned/organised about a year in advance, but our travel news and events pages are compiled up to four months before the publication date.
How do you decide the content, front covers and headlines?
Cover story and image is mainly seasonal, as are the main features though they may be previewing holiday ideas up to four or five months in advance of the appropriate season to give readers the time to plan their trip.
How do you differ from other media outlets in your sector?
We provide in-depth knowledge of France and inspiration as well as information, while other media outlets focus on information only.
Do you use freelance contributions, and if so, are they for any particular section/type of work?
Most of our freelancer contributors live in France and are therefore experts in their chosen area
Do you work closely with PRs?
Yes, we have a very good relationship with many PRs and agencies.
What information/input from PRs is most useful to you?
New events, festivals, hotel openings, food and drink news – we have several news and events pages.
What’s the best starting point for a PR who wants to tell you about their client?
Email to our editorial assistant and staff writer via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you have a PR pet hate?
My pet hate is when PRs assume we cover property and expat issues in the magazine – they clearly don’t read the magazine properly. Those subjects are covered by our sister magazines Living France and French Property News.
When is the best time for PRs to contact you & when is your deadline for contributions?
Second week in the month, as it’s after our deadline.
Describe a typical day at work:
We’re a tiny team, so we all do a bit of everything.
What do you love about your work?
I adore France and French culture, so to be able to indulge that love on a daily basis and promote it to the outside world is fantastic.
Where have you worked previously, and how did you end up in your current position?
I did French at university and also worked on the student newspaper, and gained lots of experience through that. I then did lots of work experience at lots of different magazines (eg. Woman’s Journal, Red), then did a post-grad journalism course before getting a job on the travel magazine TNT. After that I moved to Metro and then got this job after it was advertised in autumn 2006. The job brings together everything I’ve done previously – my degree, my travel journalism experience and my editing experience.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
When I was a student journalist on my university paper, Mark Frith (ex-editor of Heat) told me at the Guardian Student Media conference to identify magazines I liked, but which I thought I could improve.
Though it wasn’t until many years later that I discovered France Magazine, I feel I’ve followed his advice!
I’d love to have a go at… / If you weren’t doing this, what would you do?
Books, TV, radio… anything I haven’t yet done, I’d be keen to try later on!
What media do you seek out 1st thing in the morning?
The Today Programme on Radio 4 is increasingly covering France-related subjects, so it’s great when they raise the profile of French cultural subjects we’re covering ourselves.
What’s your idea of a relaxing day off?
A bike ride in the country, followed by a nice lunch at Brasserie Blanc in Cheltenham (where we’re based).