Media Profile: Shedding the Sloaney image - Lydia Slater, features editor, Harpers and Queen

Harpers and Queen is the magazine for Sloane Rangers, right? Jennifer’s Diary, wellies in the fashion shoot ... you get the picture. However, this is about to change with the arrival of Lydia Slater to the post of features editor. This is a woman whose first job after college was on the Daily Mail’s Femail section and who was deputy features editor of the Daily Telegraph at the age of 27. Why the magazine for the huntin’ and shootin’ woman?

Harpers and Queen is the magazine for Sloane Rangers, right?

Jennifer’s Diary, wellies in the fashion shoot ... you get the picture.

However, this is about to change with the arrival of Lydia Slater to the

post of features editor. This is a woman whose first job after college

was on the Daily Mail’s Femail section and who was deputy features

editor of the Daily Telegraph at the age of 27. Why the magazine for the

huntin’ and shootin’ woman?



’I get quite annoyed when people make that assumption about Harpers,’

says Slater. ’I have spoken to people who have read it recently and say

they are surprised. What they mean is that they thought it was written

for the mature woman, but its readership spread is reaching right down

to women in their 20s these days. Harpers has always been about trend

spotting and it has kept pace with that.’



So what would be the difference between Harpers and that other trend

spotting title, The Face? ’Well, Harpers is less music based,’ Slater

says, ’although I shall be doing a monthly celebrity interview and I

quite fancy doing Robbie Williams. I think we’ll do people who have a

profile, who our readers have heard of, but we’ll do them in a different

way.’



Slater’s newspaper background also means she plans to bring some of the

harder edged newspaper writing to the magazine, whether it’s in

employing newspaper writers to do pieces or increasing the investigative

coverage that the magazine does. This month’s feature on the murder of a

socialite in Mustique is a prime example. She also hopes the magazine

will run the kind of pieces that the newspapers pick up on.



’In this month’s issue, we have had the Mail pick up on our IQ Girls

feature, which talks about men preferring women with a bit of

intelligence,’ she explains. ’We have also had Patrick Sergeant’s piece

on how he was targetted by a Who’s Who robber and then burgled in his

own home.’



Slater is enjoying the shift from the speed of the daily paper to the

more langorous pace of a monthly magazine. ’I think it is a myth that it

is going to be any easier,’ she laughs. ’You have to check and check the

copy on a monthly, whereas you just don’t have the time on a daily to

keep going back to it. I mean, people throw the newspaper away after a

day, but some people keep copies of Harpers around for five years, so

you have to make sure the writing is up to scratch.’



And she’s pretty clear how the PR industry can help her. ’What I am

looking for from PR people is exclusives,’ she says. ’We want everything

first. I also want ideas that people don’t think are necessarily Harpers

ideas. We had a redesign in February and it went down well with

advertisers and readers. I would just like people to bear in mind that

Harpers is not what they think it is.’



HIGHLIGHTS

1993

Staff writer, Femail, Daily Mail

1996

Features writer, Daily Telegraph

1997

Deputy features editor, Daily Telegraph

1998

Features editor, Express on Sunday

1998

Features editor, Harpers and Queen



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