Media Interview with Dawn-Maria France, editor of Yorkshire Women’s Life

Today we chat to Dawn-Maria France, editor of Yorkshire Women’s Life Magazine – currently celebrating its tenth year of existence. The magazine was set up by Yorkshire journalists along with Dawn-Maria, who realised that professional women, keen on writing themselves, had little to ‘get stuck into’.

About Yorkshire Women’s Life Magazine:

Tell us more about the magazine celebrating its tenth Birthday:
Yorkshire Women’s Life is an award-winning handbag-sized women’s title. The title is news-driven with lifestyle elements such as travel, shopping, lifestyle and art. The magazine celebrates a decade of publishing this year. As an editorial team this is very rewarding and it’s wonderful to have the continued support of our subscribers.

What subjects do you cover? What stories are you most interested in covering?
We have covered subjects as diverse as bullying at work, domestic violence campaigns, body image, women’s health and well-being right through to high street fashion, lifestyle ideas and affordable travel breaks. We are most interested in covering women-focused news stories as well as regional women’s news.

What makes you different from the other outlets in your sector?
Our title is news-led first and foremost so it’s not a title which puts the celebrity first; it features articles which our readers can relate to and not only that, where possible, we try to push new writing by our readers onto our pages.

How do you decide the content?
We have regular editorial meetings where we look at what is happening on the world stage to women and look at relevant new items going forward. We also look at relevant news stories from PRs which would be of interest to our readers.

About you and freelance journalists:

Do you like freelance journalists to get in touch with you directly to pitch ideas? And if so, how?
As a women’s title which is news-led we require our freelancers to be familiar with the title and understand the type of news stories we cover before they pitch an idea to us.

A number of times we have received pitch ideas about items we do not cover which shows a lack of research of the title and looks sloppy and unprofessional. Once the freelancer has studied the title and the style of the articles and understands what we cover, who our readers are, then sends an email pitch, we would consider it.

Name the three most important attributes that make a freelance journalist stand out for you and would make you use them again?
1. Research and read the title and understand what we do
2. Spelling, grammar
3. Meeting deadlines

If you can, tell us about the best approach you’ve seen from a freelance…and the worst…
The best approach was when the freelancer had read and studied the title, understood our readers, then sent a relevant pitch. This was commissioned, and they met our deadline.

The worst was an email with no research and bad spelling and grammar. It was awful and the pitch wasn’t relevant to anything we had ever covered or would be likely to cover.

About PRs:

Do you work closely with PRs or do you keep them at arm’s length?
PRs are very useful – no publication could operate without PRs.

If you could make one change to the way PRs deal with you, what would it be?
When a PR approaches the title and we want to cover the client and they decide against it at the last minute. This is a waste of everyone’s time and not helpful when your editorial team is time-short and has deadlines to meet.

How should a PR approach you about their client?
As a title we are happy to receive press releases by email or mail. However, the press release should be targeted to our female readers.

What information/input from PRs is most useful to you?
Short and to-the-point press releases aimed at our readers, and visuals. After contacting the PR to get back to you in enough time for you to factor the story in, the more delay with the response, the more likely it is for another story to take its place.

When the best time for PRs to contact you, and what is is your deadline for contributions?
The best time is in the morning to mid-afternoon. Our lead time is three months before publication.

About you:

Describe a typical day at work. What are your editorial duties/responsibilities at Yorkshire Women’s Life?
My editorial duties include organising regular meetings with the editorial team, looking at the forth-coming magazine and who is covering what, when, deadlines, etc. I also commission journalists for various features in the forthcoming issues. My editorial role includes regularly writing features for the magazine.

What interests you most about your job?
I enjoy the challenge of the job and meeting different people. I also enjoy writing and pushing quality journalism within the title. I love the fact that each day is different and although it’s hard work being an editor it’s rewarding in so many ways, especially the wonderful feedback you get from your readers. It makes it all worthwhile.

Where have you worked previously, and how did you end up in your current position?
I have worked as a journalist for 25 years for various newspapers and magazines, national, local, international publications, covering articles such as crime, women’s issues, celebrity interviews, local news, etc. I have always contributed to women’s pages even on the newspapers where I worked. I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time to take on the role of editor-in-chief for a women’s title.

If we gave you £1000 how would you spend it?
I would probably treat my editorial team to a short break away; as they work so hard and I’m sure they would enjoy it.

[lnk||_self|Yorkshire Women’s Life magazine]

[img|jpg|Nov/Dec issue]

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