It’s a Funny Job…

Posted on July 31st, 2008 in Opinion by Julian Edgar

The role of a magazine editor is a funny one. Rather like teaching or nursing, I guess it’s one of the few jobs where the loyalty of the person lies not with those who pay the salary, but with others.

In the case of the editor, it’s the readers to whom the editor feels greatest loyalty.

An editor genuinely believes they have an obligation to produce the very best magazine possible for readers. So editors spend many dozens of hours per working week doing it for nothing – attending events, working overtime to get issues finished, waking up in the night to come up with story ideas.

In enthusiast car magazines, few editors get a salary anywhere near commensurate with the hours worked, and the effort that is made in those hours.

(In fact, the only people I have ever seen make real money writing for magazines are those that freelance. Because they’re primarily concerned with just getting as many articles or photos out the door as possible – rather than enhancing and responding to a relationship with readers – their productivity can be very high.)

I last edited a paper magazine a little over 10 years ago – an eternity in magazine publishing terms. The magazine I founded and edited – Zoom – was then sold to a different publisher and my services were no longer required. Every cloud has a silver lining – after that, Web Publications was born and we started AutoSpeed. (And I’d rather be working for AutoSpeed than doing any other job in automotive journalism!)

But it is with genuine empathy that I read the current editor of Zoom has just lost his job, along with editors of Street Commodores, Fast Fours and a number of other automotive magazines in the Express Publications portfolio.

I haven’t read – or even glanced through – any of these magazines for many years, so it’s of no personal consequence what happens to their staff or magazines.

However, I do feel for the guys who have gone, because I know only too well the heartache that occurs when you’re wrenched, not from your salaried position, but from your readers – without even a chance to farewell them.

As I said, it’s a funny job, being an editor.

4 Responses to 'It’s a Funny Job…'

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  1. Marty said,

    on July 31st, 2008 at 10:09 am

    Ironically, the google advert displayed immediately beneath this article was for jobs in Dubai!
    Maybe there’s some opportunities there for the ex-editors of the various magazines that you mentioned 😉

  2. Jason said,

    on July 31st, 2008 at 11:08 am

    It’s a very volatile market to begin with. Unfortunately the publisher involved in this latest ‘there’s the door, don’t let it hit your arse on the way out” round of retrenchments has been known on many previous occasions to be quite similar in their decisions and management style.

    Way to go alienating your loyal fan base. Especially when they have a forum that all these guys regulary chat with members and subscribers – and allows the real truth to come out…

    I don’t think this will be the last we hear from this publisher…

    All aboard for the “Silverwater Redundancy Express”, next stop Centre Link..

  3. Howard said,

    on August 1st, 2008 at 11:18 am

    I read Zoom from the very first issue and was stunned when I realised that the magazine changed hands without even so much as an explanation.
    I continued to buy it up until about 12 months ago. It had a change in editorial leadership and direction that I didn’t like.
    A previous editor is a fellow member of a car forum I joined, and I mentioned to him that I thought the magazine had gone in the wrong direction and he replied that alot of others had said the same.
    Maybe the loyal readers vacated in droves?
    Maybe Express Publications aren’t making the money they once were and are consolidating their possition in the paper media market?
    Maybe they have a plan to have 1 editor wearing multiple hats?

  4. Jason said,

    on August 1st, 2008 at 11:39 am


    Maybe they have just lost the plot ? :p