Editor's Desk: Pete Muir, Men's Fitness

Men's Fitness has just made changes to its front cover. Editorial director Pete Muir tells PRWeek what he's looking for from PROs.

Pete Muir: editorial director, Men's Fitness
Pete Muir: editorial director, Men's Fitness

Describe the magazine and your readers
We’re a specialist magazine that behaves like a lifestyle magazine. Our readers are serious about their fitness, and we are too, but we try not be po-faced about how we present our articles. Our aim is to provide the best information and inspiration in an engaging, accessible way.

You have just made changes to the front cover. Why?
Our research and feedback from readers suggest that people are changing how they view fitness. They don’t want it to be a chore that has to be endured for the sake of a perfect body – they want it to be part of their lifestyle, something that is enjoyable and has positive side-effects. Our new covers are aimed at reflecting this attitude. The six-packs are still there, but the feeling is more fun and inclusive.

What makes a good story for you?
Novelty. Every day I get showered with proposals for the same old stuff. Show me something I haven’t seen before – something genuinely new – and you’ve got my attention.

Of which story are you most proud?
About a year ago we ran a weight loss and muscle building programme that was pretty standard fare for us. What made it special was receiving before and after photos from a reader who had had an amazing transformation from fat to fit by following the plan and claimed that it had saved his life. That kind of thing makes your day.

What opportunities are there for PRs to get coverage and what tips can you give them to be successful?
We do plenty of gear reviews and celebrity interviews, so there are always opportunities for PRs to place a story. The best tip is to read the magazine and see what kind of thing we do regularly. Then PRs can tailor a proposal to our specific needs. Anything that makes a journalist’s life easier is always going to be welcome.

PR pet peeves
My pet hate is when I’m up to my ears in work and a PR calls me up and says, ‘Can you send me list of all the features about X you’ve got coming up in the next year?’ The response is usually a polite ‘no’. Also, don’t promise the same exclusive to two magazines. Nothing makes a journalist’s blood boil more than seeing their big story appear in almost identical form in a rival title.

What are your own personal media must-haves?
I read The Week – all the best bits of the papers with none of the fluff and fillers. And a glance at my wife’s copy of Grazia stops me from flying out of the loop altogether. She patiently explains who all the celebs are and why this season’s clogs are important.

How does your online offering fit in with the magazine?
The Men’s Fitness website is growing all the time and no longer just reflects the magazine but provides a whole new medium for us to reach our readers. Video workouts, interactive training, event sign-ups, reader discussions – it’s a way of creating a Men’s Fitness community that the paper magazine can’t manage.

Circulation: 68,037, ABC July - Dec 09
Contact: Jon Lipsey, editor, 020 7907 6515

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