Media interview with Susan Young, editor of DRAM

Today’s interview is with Susan Young, editor of Scotland’s number one drinks trade publication, DRAM. Find out more about the publication and her role. Maybe whilst enjoying a single malt or a nice Chinati.

About the publication

Who reads it and how many of them are there?
Our main publication is called DRAM – Drinks Retailing and Marketing. It goes out to 8,500 licensees in Scotland, and various relevant people who work within the drinks industry from MD’s to brand managers and sales reps.

What subjects do you cover? What stories are you most interested in covering?
We talk to a lot of people in the licensed trade about their businesses, whether it be a pub, hotel or restaurant. And we carry features that are of interest to them whether it be articles on cocktails or rum, whisky or beer.

What makes you different from the other outlets in your sector?
We tend to focus on people in the trade and its quite an opinionated magazine.

How do you decide the content?
Tends to be driven by what is happening in the trade – and the people who are moving and shaking.

Do you produce a features list?
We do, but it is not written in blood and tends to deviate from the plan due to circumstance. I don’t like doing them, it encourages unsolicited emails.

About you and freelance journalists

Do you like freelance journalists to get in touch with you directly to pitch ideas? And if so, how?
It would be rare that a freelance would come up with an idea to suit the DRAM. Having edited the magazine for 18 years there isn’t a subject that we haven’t covered. However we do use specialist freelancers – i.e. beer writers and such like. I also use freelancers for other publications that we produce.

Name the three most important attributes that make a freelance journalist stand out for you and would make you use them again?
An ability to write clearly and concisely and have an opinion and be prepared to ask questions, and be persistent.

If you can, tell us about the best approach you’ve seen from a freelance…and the worst…
The best freelancers can work on their own initiative and ask the right questions. If they do this then obviously they get good stories. The worst was a freelancer who was commissioned to go out and interview someone, and then did it over email with stock questions.

About PRs

If you could make one change to the way PRs deal with you, what would it be?
Send relevant information for the publication. But now that everyone is sending emails I rarely open all of them!

What information/input from PRs is most useful to you?
When we come up with an idea for a feature and they provide some of the info. I still prefer to speak to some clients directly.

About you

Describe a typical day at work: What are your editorial duties/responsibilities at the outlet (e.g. commissioning, subbing, features, interviewing)?
Typical day – there is no such thing. I cover the whole editorial spectrum from commissioning to writing, subbing to layout.

What interests you most about your job?
The variety and the people – the drinks industry is fun.

Where have you worked previously, and how did you end up in your current position?
I was working in PR and had a whisky client, and ended up getting to know the industry, and bought the DRAM, or as it was then called the Scottish Licensee.

Do you tweet? Why, why not?
I do tweet now and again. New places opening and such like.


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