Company editor Victoria White hears students’ pitches at UCLan
Victoria White talks to students about pitching feature ideas and the future of journalism. Sarah Allen reports
She was the centre of attention. Sitting glamorously with an iPad on her knee, wearing wet-look jeans, a contrasting Victorian-esque cream blouse and Topshop’s best-selling Ambush boots, Company editor Victoria White was surrounded by eager students wanting to share their feature ideas.
The pitching session instantly proved to be a great insight into the style and readership of Company magazine. With a variety of ideas thrown at her, Victoria gave encouraging and honest feedback to all the students, and identified whether each idea would be appropriate for Company readers or better suited to other titles such as Grazia and Red. Receiving comments, good or terribly bad, from an editor as successful as Victoria, seemed like a big step forward and was a great way to put our knowledge into practice.
After the pitching session, Victoria was surprised to find that word had got around fast as she was greeted by journalism and fashion students awaiting her lecture on the future of magazine journalism. As an introduction to the impact of social media, Victoria said hello to the students who had tweeted her before her visit to Uclan. She mentioned that she is regularly stalked on Twitter, often by students asking for work placements – and it was interesting to see a few reddened faces around the room. Her advice to anyone thinking it would be ok to pester their potential future editor? “Make the most of social networking sites, but don’t use it to replace old-fashioned methods of journalism’’ as you should still write a strong covering letter as opposed to simply tweeting an editor for experience.
Victoria was easy to relate to as a guest lecturer, describing her climb to the top and reminding everyone to be enthusiastic and to keep their options open.
Her optimistic view of the future of journalism was inspirational. She talked about brand extensions and said “although magazines are in decline, brands and content are still needed – we are no longer magazines, we are brands’’. Company’s fashion extension the High Street Edit magazine, published twice a year, is a strong example of a developing a reputable brand. Victoria explained that the key to creating a well-established brand is to treat it as a ‘’business, in order to speak to consumers to sell a print product’’.
Looking to the future of her own career, Victoria talked about how she would like to edit a publication similar to Asos magazine. Victoria said, ‘’in the past contract magazines were the sorts of places you would usually want to go to at the end of your career’’, whereas magazines such as Topshop, John Lewis and ASOS are now becoming big business when it comes to knowing what consumers want.
From an editor’s perspective, Victoria seemed positive about the future of Company. She said: ‘’There are so many facets to everything now…we have got to see how the next phase looks’’. And as a final word to the aspiring journalists and fashionistas Victoria said: ‘’The future of magazines is exciting, we’ve gone through the depression but now we are at the really exciting bit.”
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