MEDIA PROFILE: Something for the weekend - Julia Cuthbertson, editor, Weekend FT

Julia Cuthbertson seems to live at a faster pace than most of us.

Julia Cuthbertson seems to live at a faster pace than most of


When we speak, she’s snatching a few moments between sorting something

out with Channel 5 and shooting off to the gym. She was made editor of

the Weekend FT in 1998 and she has revamped the whole section. Now she

is planning to launch a fast-paced magazine to accompany the section

aimed not at fat cats, but ’alley cats with ambition’. But then, moving

fast is something she has been doing from the start of her career.

At Sussex University, Cuthbertson was humming and hawing over her life’s

direction when her careers adviser, who was dating legendary hack Ian

Jacks, then on the Sunday Times, invited her to Brighton where the

Sunday Times senior staff were spending a weekend. ’I was hanging out in

the Ship hotel with these urbane sophisticates, then having dinner at

Wheeler’s in the Lanes,’ she says. ’They all seemed very glamorous while

being faintly seedy and I knew these were my sort of people.’

On leaving university, she hooked up with Thompson Regional Newspaper’s

indenture scheme at the South Wales Echo, where she was put through the

usual hoops of Crown Courts and pounding the streets. But in 1976,

Cuthbertson and fellow indenturee Michael Atwell - now controller of

features and arts at Channel 5 - blagged press passes to the Democratic

Convention in Madison Square Gardens, where she lunched with the likes

of Warren Beatty and Diana Ross, before shooting up to Montreal to cover

the Olympics. A brief visit to the Montreal Gazette resulted in a job

offer and a few weeks later, she was back from London with pounds 60 in

her pocket and needing to borrow pounds 1,000 to buy enough clothes to

keep out Montreal’s winter.

A jet-setting life followed. In 1980, she worked on three papers on two

continents, jetting between Canada’s Toronto Star and Montreal Gazette

and Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post. But after spending some time

in Miami, she returned to the UK to work on the FT - becoming the

paper’s first female assistant editor - and the Sunday Times, where she

met best mate Helen Hawkins, editor of the Sunday Times Culture section,

who worked as Cuthbertson’s deputy.

’Julia’s office nickname was ’The Dragon’,’ says Hawkins. ’Many eminent

writers have felt the heat of her blue pencil. But she is also an editor

who can turn her hand to the smallest detail. A glossy magazine format

is her ideal milieu - her personal interests have always ranged wider

than FTSE movements and the state of the futures market.’

Indeed, Cuthbertson wants the magazine to take a different tone to the

rest of the paper which, she says, has spent years gaining a reputation

as authoritative, neutral and restrained. The 64-page magazine will be

vibrant and opinionated - ’somewhere between Loaded and Management

Today,’ she says. She plans to include features on food and travel, and

serious, in-depth pieces on business, people and issues which will pour

from the pen of the magazine’s chief feature writer, author Jean-Paul


’I want to write about people who are making money,’ she says, ’be they

in internet companies, manufacturing, financial services or even public

relations.’ And with that, after a whirlwind tour of a whirlwind career,

she’s off to the gym.



Reporter, Montreal Gazette


Features editor and assistant editor, Financial Times


Launches FT weekend magazine

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