MEDIA: MacArthur takes Now job

Now, the 630,000-circulation IPC Connect weekly, has appointed Ali MacArthur as commissioning editor in charge of health.

MacArthur was freelance for 14 months before taking up the post this week. Before that, she was news editor of Focus, the popular science magazine.

Having filled one staff vacancy, another has opened up at Now. Associate editor Michael Butcher has been poached by Emap to become deputy editor of rival Closer, and Now editor Jane Ennis is on the hunt for a replacement.

MacArthur's remit will cover the health feature Mind and Body, and the health news page Vital.

'With health news, there is always a research-related story, plus one covering the latest health product, perhaps with a cheaper or alternative version,' MacArthur explained.

Vital includes a question on a health or wellbeing topic, which could provide an opportunity for PROs to push their products, MacArthur added.

'PR people can think imaginatively about phrasing it to target it to our readers,' she said

The problem - such as pregnant women experiencing discomfort from car seatbelts - is often answered by recommending a product.

'Products and ideas are always welcome,' MacArthur said. But she suggests PROs need to read the pages before approaching her. 'For example, I haven't noticed people suggesting where their idea might fit (in the magazine). That would be welcome.'

Although Now is a celebrity magazine, MacArthur's features will be research-based or product-led. 'Providing positive advice on main health concerns such as snoring, stress and diet is important,' she said.

Now recorded a circulation figure of 630,212 from July to December 2002 at the last ABCs. Despite this being a 14 per cent rise, Ennis called on publishers last month not to flood the celebrity sector.

'I don't think the market can take any more launches of Now clones,' she said.

This is a barbed reference to the launch last month of the Richard Desmond-owned New!, edited by Kirsty Mouatt.

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