Media Interview with Sarah Edwards, editorial director of Magnificent Man
Calling all magnificent men – Bespoken’s editorial director Sarah Edwards needs you! If you have a mature attitude and a passion for watches, aviation, sailing and cars (and who doesn’t?) then Magnificent Man is the publication for you. Now on its second issue, adventure, endurance and innovation is bound to fill its following editions…
About the publication:
What was the inspiration for starting Magnificent Man?
Bespoken realised there was a gap in the market for a premium paper for men who have passions for watches, aviation, sailing and cars, but don’t feel the traditional men’s magazines are for them.
What kind of reader are you hoping to draw to the paper?
Our readers are affluent and interested in reading about adventure, innovation, design and people doing extraordinary things.
What subjects and stories are you most interested in covering? Are there any regular/upcoming features you could tell us about?
We keep pretty quiet about some of our bigger features, but we have a section which covers books, DVDs, gadgets, movies and technology and another about how to spoil your wife or partner. This covers everything from jewellery to spa breaks. We’re always looking for interesting fashion spreads and have featured Rakes and Hackett.
Magnificent Man is free to download so freelancers can see past issues.
What will make Magnificent Man different from the other outlets in the men’s interest sector?
Magnificent Man is a paper, rather than a magazine. It has a mature attitude without being worthy and recognises that men have wide-ranging interests.
How will you determine which features and news stories make it into the magazine?
They have to talk to our brand values which can roughly be summed up by the phrase ‘modern with a retro feel’.
Is there anyone in particular you would love to get an exclusive interview with?
Calling all magnificent men! The subjects on our covers have to have done something extraordinary. Past cover subjects include explorer Ben Saunders and record-breaking sailor Sir Robin Knox-Johnston.
Will you plan any features in advance?
We plan six issues at one time, but are always flexible and move things around in the two months prior to each issue being published.
About you and freelance journalists:
Do you pay for contributions from freelance journalists?
Yes, we do.
Do you like freelance journalists to get in touch with you directly to pitch ideas? And if so, how?
Freelance writers and photographers should drop editor Alex Doak an email outlining their idea. It doesn’t have to be a complicated pitch, just five bullet points is usually enough for him to judge if there’s a feature or photo there for Magnificent Man.
Name the three most important attributes that make a freelance journalist stand out for you and would make you use them again?
They should be aware of what makes a story appealing to Magnificent Man readers. Their copy should be well-researched, well-written and delivered on time. They should be friendly, flexible and positive.
If you can, tell us about the best approach you’ve seen from a freelance…and the worst…
Most good freelancers know that bothering to research the title and editor before making an approach will stand them in good stead. The worst approach I’ve ever had was written in text-speak and, to add insult to injury, spelt both my first and second names wrong.
Do you work closely with PRs or do you keep them at arm’s length?
We work closely with PRs.
If you could make one change to the way PRs deal with you, what would it be?
I would change the timing of some press releases. If a PR sends you a release with a Valentine’s angle in February, it’s pretty obvious they haven’t bothered to find out much about the title.
How should a PR approach you about their client?
By addressing editor Alex Doak by name, mentioning Magnificent Man, and explaining just why the client would be useful to our readers.
When is the best time for PRs to contact you, and what is your deadline for contributions?
Three months in advance of publication is about right for contact. If it’ll lead to great content for the paper, we’ll always stretch a deadline.
How was putting the first issue of Magnificent Man together?
Really satisfying. We’d done our consumer research and so could be really targeted about content.
Describe a typical day at work on the paper: What are your editorial duties/responsibilities at the outlet?
I am editorial director and oversee all Bespoken’s titles. An editor’s day is usually a mixture of forward planning, commissioning, re-writing, adding heads and sells, liasing with heads of department such as the picture editor and talking to PRs and freelancers on the phone, by email or face-to-face.
What interests you most about your job so far?
The people, the challenge and learning every day.
Where have you worked previously, and how did you end up in your current position?
I started in newspapers as a news reporter, launched Reveal for Natmags and then edited Woman for IPC. After a stint advising publishers on print and digital launches, I joined Bespoken to look after its multi-platform customer and consumer titles.
Do you tweet? Why, why not?
I tweet about and on behalf of Bespoken’s titles.
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