Media Interview with Natasha Henry, publisher and editor-in-chief of Women in Sport magazine
Women in Sport magazine launched on 24 October, can you please tell us about the magazine and what inspired you to do it?
What inspired me was the lack of inspiring female-led stories in regards to sports. As a freelance journalist, I love a lot of sports but I found that when women were competing there was far less interest unless they were deemed pretty by society or there was something remotely scandalous going on in their personal life. So Women in Sport is the contrast to that. A magazine that not only promotes amazing women – both on and off the field, but tells their stories and hopefully makes them more relatable to the everyday reader. While also offering advice on health, food and fitness for the majority of people; as most of us aren't elite athletes.
Who is the magazine aimed at?
Principally I would say it's for females 16-45, but that would ignore a lot of the studies that have been done around female sport. It is estimated that 45% of female sports viewers are men. For example when you go to watch a team in the Women's Super League you will see it's a lot more of a blend than the male game. And we aim to have enough top quality content to encourage anyone to read WiS.
Do you have any male writers and freelancers working on the magazine?
Of course we do. The specification of our staff is based on ability and knowledge, it's nothing to do with their gender.
Do you pay for contributions from freelance journalists and what attributes do you look for? Do they have to have a sports journalism background?
While experience is always good, I didn't have a sports journalism background five years ago. We do pay for articles and we're looking for people with enthusiasm, passion and a good story. That is far more important than a packed CV because we'll weigh up everyone's application on an individual basis.
You’re a freelance sports journalist, currently working at The Voice newspaper. Where have you found the time to work on your own magazine and how is your time divided up?
I had to take a break from freelancing at other publications at the end of the football season and have committed myself to WiS since then. Like anyone starting a new business there is so much to do so if you intend to do it properly, you have to be committed to the project.
My days normally start with checking in with my editorial team – everyone is freelance so that may be over email, phone or Skype. I will then schedule the social media (tweets) so I don't have to tweet a lot during the day unless it's instant news. I don't really manage to plan the rest of my days. I will normally work off a to-do list and try to get as much done as possible. But as we only have a small team, sometimes you have to realise that your working day is no longer 9-5.
Olympic gold medal-winning heptathlete Denise Lewis is a columnist on the magazine. How did you manage to get such an iconic & inspirational sports personality to write for the magazine?
Denise was always the person I wanted as our monthly columnist, I approached Denise before I even had a distributor! Thankfully Denise is as enthusiastic about women's sport as our team are. She understands their struggles as a former athlete, and her knowledge as a pundit is immense. We share a lot of similar views related to the lack of coverage of women's sport, so she's a perfect addition to our team.
Do you work with PRs? If so, what do you look for in a press release?
We do. We look for a good product, but the press release has to be relevant – it’s surprising how many aren’t. The press release can be as pretty as you like, but if you're promoting a product that you wouldn't expect to see in WiS then the presentation of the press release is irrelevant.
What’s the best way for PRs to get in touch, phone, email, tweet?
How far ahead do you start planning for issues?
I wouldn't say we're planning further than Issue Three, but we do have notes of events and competitions that are happening in certain months as our content will be somewhat defined by the sporting calender. I'm learning very quickly that it's important to try and be as organised as possible. Also, a lot of the sportswomen have ridiculously tight schedules with training, rehab etc so it enables us to arrange interviews in advance.
What’s been the most difficult thing about starting up the magazine and what’s been the most rewarding?
The most difficult thing is the lack of sleep. No, seriously, the hardest thing is pulling all the different departments together – advertising, editorial, distribution, PR etc.
You never realise how much needs to be done until you actually start doing it because you can't prepare for everything.
The most rewarding has been the feedback from the public and the sportswomen themselves. It's humbling to know that people are genuinely excited by what you are working on.