Media: Profile: Getting passionate about TV - PAUL SIMPSON, Editor, the Box

Paul Simpson, launch editor of new TV magazine the Box, is very much the late 1990s editor. Both the Box and his previous title FourFourTwo display the irreverent wit and direct style which Loaded used to break the mould of consumer magazines.

Paul Simpson, launch editor of new TV magazine the Box, is very

much the late 1990s editor. Both the Box and his previous title

FourFourTwo display the irreverent wit and direct style which Loaded

used to break the mould of consumer magazines.



Simpson describes the Box as a ’spin on the TV magazine with big words

in it’ Aimed primarily at the ABC1 males in the 25-44 age bracket he

says it has humour and aims to avoid blandness and appeal to both TV

addicts and selective watchers alike.



’These days people buy magazines with personality,’ he explains. ’It’s

important for an editor to be a brand champion and personify the

readership.’



On this criterion Simpson would seem to be a good choice as editor. 35

years old, affable and self-deprecating, he also admits to being a ’bit

sad’ about TV with a penchant for cult US sitcoms. He took Four Four Two

from its launch in 1994 to a circulation of 83,000 after just 18

months.



He left on a high after the Euro 96 championships last June.



Like Four Four Two, the Box is trying to create a new market. ’Both

subjects are talked about in pubs and the style has to be savvy,’ he

explains.



Should the Box succeed, Simpson will establish a record in editing

innovative consumer titles, a far cry from his first job in journalism

on Cranes Today.



’I applied for an editorial assistant’s position advertised in the

Telegraph and then had to lie when the interviewer asked whether I found

the subject matter interesting,’ says Simpson.



Two years later he moved on to LithoWeek where, over six years, he rose

through the ranks from reporter to editor. ’Everyone else left,’ he

jokes, He did his best to give the title more punch and develop it as a

business magazine, admitting to upsetting a few people in the

process.



Simpson then developed Newspaper Focus, a monthly mix of stories about

newspaper editorial and technology, out of LithoWeek. Newspaper Focus

went on to win the Periodical Publishers Association’s business magazine

of the year award in 1992. But by 1994 Simpson was having

’disagreements’ with his publisher and thinking of going freelance when

he was approached by FourFourTwo publisher Kevin Whitchurch to become

launch editor.



He says: ’I love magazine journalism, particularly as editor where you

can create and shape a title. On a newspaper you’re more of a cog in a

machine.’



What about TV journalism? ’No I’d look three stone heavier and I don’t

like the sound bite,’ he replies. ’I’ll edit magazines until they give

me a gold watch and push me out the door.’



A self-confessed Yankophile, Simpson’s other passions include Elvis

Presley, US politics and F Scott Fitzgerald. He jokes, I think, that his

ultimate ambition is to edit Elvis Monthly. Simpson hopes the Box can

emulate US magazines’ ability to inform without being dull.



’We’re hoping for a ’slow burn’ in sales, building a passionate

readership through word of mouth,’ he says. ’The plan is to go monthly

by September.’



HIGHLIGHTS

1987

Editor, LithoWeek

1990

Editor, Newspaper Focus

1994

Editor, FourFourTwo

1997

Editor, the Box



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