MEDIA PROFILE: Pushing the value of personality - Liz Jones, editor, Marie Claire

’You’re lucky to catch me early - I’ve still got my voice,’ Liz Jones, Marie Claire’s new editor says. ’I’ve only been here a month and I’m still getting hoarse at the end of the day. There’s meeting after meeting after meeting.’ She drops her voice as if confiding something.

’You’re lucky to catch me early - I’ve still got my voice,’ Liz

Jones, Marie Claire’s new editor says. ’I’ve only been here a month and

I’m still getting hoarse at the end of the day. There’s meeting after

meeting after meeting.’ She drops her voice as if confiding

something.



’At the Sunday Times you’d be able to get it all done by e-mail, which

was a lot quicker. And I kept my voice.’



She may only have been at the magazine for a month, but Jones has taken

advantage of the job shifting currently going on at IPC to recruit some

top drawer editorial staff. This week sees Peter Winterbottom, formerly

art editor at the Sunday Times Magazine, join as art director and

Vanessa Gillingham, senior fashion assistant on Vogue, take up a newly

created position as junior fashion editor. It’s all part of her master

plan.



’My first real issue of Marie Claire will be the September issue,’ she

says. ’By then you’ll see areas like the health section greatly expanded

because when I was on the Sunday Times Style section, it was the health

coverage that attracted more letters on Monday than any other part of

the paper. I also want to make our fashion pages more beautiful. There’s

a divide in fashion coverage at the moment between the really expensive

stuff you can’t afford and the really crumby stuff which looks awful. I

want to cover what is available in between.’



Jones joined Marie Claire from the Sunday Times after a career dominated

by her newspaper experience, and it’s a hard-nosed newspaper approach

she wants to bring to Marie Claire’s reportage and travel coverage.



’In the past, we’ve used local journalists to tell us what’s going on

in, say, Afghanistan,’ she says. ’I think we can use more UK writers,

who will be able to explain things better. Women’s magazines have a

tendency to favour house style over a writer’s style, so good writing

can be crushed.



I want to change that. I’d like to use people like Emma Forrest to do,

say, a travel feature on living in an igloo. She’d make it very

funny.’



Jones also wants to introduce more celebrity-led front covers. ’I’ve got

a lot of experience in that. At the Sunday Times, the editor didn’t want

to know why you couldn’t get a celebrity, he wanted the celebrity.



It took seven months to get David Beckham on the front cover, but we did

it.’



Her approach to the public relations industry is gradually

softening.



’At the Sunday Times we kept PROs at arm’s length, which allowed us to

be as rude as we liked about, say, Versace,’ she says. ’With the

magazine world, I realise that’s going to be different.’



Jones’s old boss, Sunday Times style editor Jeremy Langmead, sums her

up: ’Liz has the ability to slip between the very intellectual and the

extremely frivolous, which some people find alarming, but I think is

very attractive. And she’s great fun socially.’



HIGHLIGHTS

1991

Launched Style, TV and London sections for Sunday Times

1992

Deputy editor, Sunday Times Magazine

1998

Deputy editor, Sunday Times Style

1999

Editor, Marie Claire



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