Grab 60 Seconds with Country Life Editor Mark Hedges as he gears up to launch one of the largest editions in the 115-year old magazine's history ahead of the Diamond Jubilee.
How did you become an Editor?
By luck. I did Geology at university and then worked in horse racing before getting a job as Features Editor at Horse & Hound. But I’m a scientist really.
Favourite magazine growing up?
NME. I was a huge David Bowie fan!
The first job I was paid for was gold prospecting in Scotland with Rio Tinto Zinc but my first ever job in journalism was writing a tipping column as the Newmarket correspondent for Racing and Footballer Outlook.
Most interesting person?
It would have to be Lester Piggott. He’s won the Derby more than any other jockey. Unfortunately though, he’s quite deaf and I was too in awe to shout at him.
What’s your career highlight?
Editing Country Life and producing its highest ever selling issue in its 115-year history which was The Christmas Double issue. Next week will be a massive highlight as well, when our Diamond Jubilee issue goes on sale. Over 370 pages for a weekly magazine is pretty remarkable.
Country Life is the only glossy perfect bound weekly in Britain. It has been published for 115 years and is as successful today as it has ever been, it’s a national institution
What advice would you give to aspiring Editors?
Listen to everyone but be yourself. You can only succeed or fail on your own terms. And most of all, remember that it should be fun!
What makes your magazine unique?
Country Life is the only glossy perfect bound weekly in Britain. It has been published for 115 years and is as successful today as it has ever been. The content also makes it pretty unique – we comment in depth on such a wide variety of subjects, such as architecture, property, the arts, gardens and gardening, the countryside, schools and wildlife. This eclectic editorial mix, combined with stunning photography, is enjoyed by as many women as men, and by City workers as well as those who already live in the countryside. It’s a national institution.
What’s the most innovative thing you and your team have come up with?
We created an advent calendar front cover, which featured a traditional image with 24 windows die-cut directly into the cover. It was a process never before seen on a UK weekly magazine. It was hugely popular and instantly became a special collector's edition of the magazine. It is now one of the things our readers tell us they look forward to seeing every year.
Your fantasy front cover?
The Queen leading in her own horse that’s just won the Derby.
What’s unique about your audience?
Our audience, like any other, wants to be entertained but it’s important that that entertainment is the right mix for them. We need to provide them with a rich variety that’s beautiful as well as intellectually stimulating. They are wealthy, refined and intelligent, they want and aspire to the finest things in life and, of course, they have a deep love of the countryside.