Media Profile: Lifestyle guru - Dylan Jones, editor, GQ

The succession of GQ editors is worth a chapter all to itself in the history of British media. First of all there was Michael VerMeullen, the US import who died of a massive drug overdose. Then there was, well, whatshisname. You know - the one who increased circulation, kept the advertisers happy but didn’t live very large - Angus McKinnon. Not really a Conde Nast sort, Angus, so they called in James Brown from Loaded. He, so they say, threw TV sets through the window, charged around the world living it up and covered the magazine’s pages in pictures of topless women and articles the management took offence to. So they called for Dylan Jones.

The succession of GQ editors is worth a chapter all to itself in

the history of British media. First of all there was Michael VerMeullen,

the US import who died of a massive drug overdose. Then there was, well,

whatshisname. You know - the one who increased circulation, kept the

advertisers happy but didn’t live very large - Angus McKinnon. Not

really a Conde Nast sort, Angus, so they called in James Brown from

Loaded. He, so they say, threw TV sets through the window, charged

around the world living it up and covered the magazine’s pages in

pictures of topless women and articles the management took offence to.

So they called for Dylan Jones.



No one really knew the route Dylan Jones would take before he

arrived.



On the one hand, he has just had a daughter, so he is unlikely to be

pushing the boat out quite as far as VerMuellen and Brown. On the other

hand, during his 20-year career in lifestyle journalism, Jones has

worked on some of the UK’s top style bibles. He wrote for the Face and

edited iDduring their golden years of the mid- to late-1980s, moved to

edit Arena in 1988, then joined the Observer as an associate editor in

1992.



So he is unlikely to be a pipe and slippers editor. Indeed, he started

his career as a photographer’s assistant touring nightclubs and chatting

to the most startling looking people, so he has always known how to

party.



But what is he going to do with the magazine?



’I’m not going to throw out everything James Brown did,’ he says. ’James

energised the magazine in terms of the visuals and the sense of humour.

He brought in contributors like Irvine Welsh and Tony Parsons, but I

think his mistake was to do what I’m not planning to do - throwing the

baby out with the bathwater. I want to reintroduce some of the elements

of GQ that went. I’ve plundered the broadsheets for contributors, I want

to bring in more health and travel and I want to move it upmarket. I

think the core GQ reader will remain and we’ll encourage readers who

have wandered off to newspapers to return.’



GQ’s current circulation is 132,185. Its competition, Esquire and Arena,

have 108,284 and 60,949 respectively. Does Jones think he can maintain

his position? ’Yes, absolutely. I am not saying we will reach the likes

of FHM and Loaded, but we are going to increase our readership.’



’Dylan is an old school men’s magazine editor,’ says Observer columnist

Kathryn Flett, who worked with Jones on iD and lived with him for six

years. ’He’s methodical, talented and dogged, so he’ll be bringing a

classical approach to GQ. Critics might say he will take the magazine

back in time and forget everything we have learned in the last few

years, but I think he is too smart for that. Plus he’s also not averse

to looking at a naked woman.’



As for the PR industry, Jones’ needs are simple. ’I want everything and

I want everything first,’ he says with a smile. ’I have always worked

hand in hand with PR. I was amazed when I went to newspapers to see the

contempt newspaper journalists hold PR people in. It sounds corny, but

some of my best friends are in PR.’



HIGHLIGHTS

1995

Group editor Wagadon

1997

Editor at large, Sunday Times

1999

Editor, GQ



Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register
Already registered?
Sign in

Would you like to post a comment?

Please Sign in or register.