In January 2007, Owen Hunnam quit a world-class degree convinced that there were more exciting things to wake up to than hangovers, lectures and student debt. He ended up back in Sevenoaks, and after much brainstorming, came up with community lifestyle magazine, Vine.
About the publication
Vine was launched in June 2007; how did it come about?
This exciting new community lifestyle magazine for Sevenoaks is the brainchild of Owen Hunnam, a 21-year-old university-dropout-turned-publisher, who swapped hangovers and student debt for subheads and saddle stitching.
Vine has just been nominated for two national awards as part of the PPA’s search for the UK’s most enterprising, talented and inspiring independent publishing companies. Owen Hunnam is also the youngest-ever entrant in any PPA awards.
What makes Vine different from other publications in your sector?
Most free magazines have a reputation for poor editorial, uninspired layout and page after page of adverts. Vine represents a completely fresh approach, striving instead to be as good as a paid-for.
Our robust editorial policy ensures that readers’ interests are at the heart of every decision: rich and exciting local content by local people replaces the syndicated articles and endless advertorials that neglected readers of free magazines have unfortunately become accustomed to.
We also offer our readers the unique guarantee of more content than adverts: our editorial to advertising ratio typically sits at around 60:40.
What stories are you most interested in covering?
Our editorial focuses exclusively on Sevenoaks and the immediate area. We aim for an exciting mix of regular and occasional features with topics including: news, views, art, history, nature and wildlife, fashion, food and drink, fitness, property, what’s on listings, gardens and plants, puzzles, competitions, prizes and interiors. Everything we cover always has a Sevenoaks angle. Vine readers are sophisticated, intelligent ABC1 adults aged 30—69.
How do you see the magazine developing in years to come?
We have very ambitious plans for the magazine and intend to boost pagination, circulation and use a higher quality cover stock paper very soon. We also have intentions to expand the brand into a range of other markets and products.
What information/input from PRs is most useful to Vine?
We’re always looking for interesting and exciting stories that have a direct link to Sevenoaks and are written with our core readership in mind.
What is the best starting point for a PR who wants to tell you about their client?
Contact us with an exciting and relevant press release complete with high-res images, captions and a brief covering email clearly detailing why our readers will be interested in the story and how you envisage it slotting into the Vine format.
We urge all contributors to carefully study our style guide (available as an online download) prior to submission. Submissions which completely disregard our style guide are not considered.
Do you have a PR pet hate?
Blatant advertorial-style press releases written without any research into our magazine or understanding of our readership. Anything that isn’t Sevenoaks related or completely disregards our style guide is instantly deleted.
When is the best time for PRs to contact you and when is your copy deadline for contributions?
The best form of contact is always email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and our copy deadline is the 16th of the month.
What are your editorial duties/responsibilities at the magazine?
Editor, Publisher and Art Director.
Where have you worked previously and how did you end up in your current position?
Here’s my story in a nutshell…
In January 2007, I quit a world-class degree convinced that there were more exciting things to wake up to than hangovers, lectures and student debt. So jumped on a train back to Sevenoaks with a burning desire to make something happen.
After a few weeks of brainstorming, creative thinking and dead-ends, I came up with a magazine idea called Vine. I did some research and thankfully wasn’t the only weirdo to think it had legs. So after three months of hard work, coffee-drinking and new ideas, Online Vine went live in March 2007 and Vine magazine launched a few months later in June.
Since then, we’ve been relentlessly improving, developing and evolving the magazine and website. Creativity, passion and ideas underpin everything we do.
[img|jpg|Owen Hunnam: publisher, editor, art director]