Tell us a bit about Infosecurity – what does the magazine aim to do, and who is it for?
Infosecurity is an online news site and knowledge resource for the information security community. We have a quarterly print magazine and run virtual conferences and weekly webinars throughout the year. We also provide the content for the information security hub on The Guardian's website. Aimed at information security professionals, Infosecurity is an essential knowledge repository for industry professionals.
How do you decide the front cover for each issue – is cover imagery difficult for trade magazines (who can’t utilise Holly Willoughby/Judy Finnigan/soap stars of varying quality)?
The cover story is picked each issue based on the merit of the feature. We don’t pick our cover story until all features have been submitted and edited, and then we agree which is the most deserving. Then the search for the perfect imagery begins. I like a clean, eye-catching and striking cover, with bold colours and not too much clutter. In the five years I’ve been editor, a few covers really stick out as my favourite. It may be harder for B2B magazines to create a cover without the use of ‘celebrities’ or glamour as such, but it just means we have to be more creative and think outside of the box.
Describe a typical day at work: What are your editorial duties/responsibilities at the outlet?
It’s a cliché, I know, but there is no typical day at work for me. Sometimes I’ll be covering industry events (either in the UK, US, or Europe) and interviewing industry luminaries, other days I’ll be at my desk in Richmond, battling through my emails, managing our webinar programme and writing the next virtual conference agenda. The constants in my job are news subbing, editorial agenda, feature commissioning, magazine production, interviewing, blogging, moderating our online programmes and budget control (the latter is the most challenging for me, as I am a girl who likes to spend).
What interests you most about your job?
I love interviewing, and I love attending events and conferences (and not just the ones in glamorous locations, although I am writing this on a plane to Vegas for the Black Hat conference!) – this allows me to keep on top of what’s new and interesting in the industry, and where I get to meet my readers. I love to write, so embrace the opportunity whenever I can. A new obsession of mine is monitoring Google Analytics daily to keep track of which stories our audience enjoy consuming most, and where our traffic comes from. It’s absolutely fascinating and also enables me to keep producing the content that our audience want to read.
About Infosecurity and freelance journalists
Does Infosecurity pay for contributions for freelance journalists?
Yes we do. We have a team of freelance news writers and we also commission features for the print magazine and the website. We also run a very successful webinar programme and use freelance moderators to facilitate these.
How should freelancers get in touch with the magazine, and what kind of pitches are most likely to be successful?
I’m always looking for new writers and webinar moderators to add to our wonderful team. I can be contacted on email (firstname.lastname@example.org). Knowledge of the sector is essential.
What information from PRs is most useful for the Infosecurity team?
When a big story breaks in the industry, we always look for comment from multiple sources. We’re pretty quick to react to these stories, so timeliness is crucial. We’re also always looking for new and interesting professionals to interview, so welcome interview pitches and opinion article ideas. We welcome all press releases, but it drives us crazy when PRs call to check their press release got there and to read it out loud down the phone to us. We get around a hundred a day, so don’t have time to confirm receipt. If the release is good and has substance, we’ll cover it. Have a little faith…
What’s the strangest/most-ridiculously-inappropriate-for-use press release you’ve seen during your time at Infosecurity?
Now that would be telling…I don’t name and shame, but let’s just say I wouldn’t have covered it if it was the last story on earth!! I don’t have a PR black list (I believe in second chances!) but if I did, this would have been top of the list!
You were features editor of Label, the university magazine for Loughborough Students’ Union – did this stand you in good stead for working in the publishing industry? Would you advise those wishing to work in journalism to try out for their student paper?
Absolutely. I had my heart set on being a teacher when I went to university, and it was this role which made me change my mind, and I’ve never looked back. The position taught me how to commission, sub-edit, consider layout and opened my eyes to the ‘dark’ side of publishing – the advertising revenue! Working at Label encouraged me to get work experience at a national newspaper in the features department and I realised I loved everything about journalism and publishing. I would absolutely encourage anyone considering a career in journalism to try out for their student paper or get work experience. It demonstrates passion and dedication which will be attractive to future employers.
You tweet on behalf of Infosecurity. The rise of social media has changed what online privacy/security means for most people; do you think it’s detrimental to online security (for individuals and businesses)? What are the positives of social media?
I’m a huge advocate of social media and wouldn’t be without it. I encourage the whole team to use social media – not only to share our content and encourage discussion and interaction with our audience, but as a means of acquiring the latest news and staying on top of the latest trends. While social media does present online security challenges and problems, I believe that the benefits outweigh the risk. It’s essential to ensure that employees are aware of the potential damage that inappropriate use of social media can cause to an organisation’s reputation and security. When used correctly, the reach and effect of social media is not to be underestimated.