MEDIA PROFILE: The popular traveller - Sharon Ring, launch editor, Escape Routes

The fuss over Posh and Becks’ wedding has proved to be a PR boon for all those involved. It also proved a significant financial result all round. The couple earned enough to put Brooklyn through Eton, should they decide to put his name down, and OK! magazine reports a healthy trade at the newsstands for the wedding special.

The fuss over Posh and Becks’ wedding has proved to be a PR boon

for all those involved. It also proved a significant financial result

all round. The couple earned enough to put Brooklyn through Eton, should

they decide to put his name down, and OK! magazine reports a healthy

trade at the newsstands for the wedding special.



But what the public has not been privy to is the behind-the-scenes deal

which brought off the coup. OK! former editor Sharon Ring and Alan

Edwards from the Outside Organisation, which handles PR for the golden

couple, agreed the deal over a year ago. A combination of OK!’s cheque

book, populist agenda and Ring’s gift of the gab secured the

exclusive.



As it turned out, Sharon wasn’t at OK! to see the fruits of her

labour.



She left the magazine last summer to set up Emap’s new concept in travel

media - Escape Routes.



It is the latest stage in a career that saw her get the first front-page

splash on the News of the World when she convinced the aunt of

supermodel Jodie Kidd to spill the beans on her romp with Prince Andrew.

She also managed to persuade Ian Botham’s lover to reveal all about

snorting cocaine on the crease. Former boss Bernard Shrimster, the Mail

on Sunday’s first editor, calls her the ’great persuader’.



Escape Routes is, in one sense, a product of her persuasive skills. When

she left OK! last year, Emap was on the phone sharpish and asked her in

for a meeting. Once there, she moved the conversation on from whatever

it was Emap wanted from her and convinced the publisher that it should

launch her dream of a travel title.



’Escape Routes is the first multi-media launch,’ she says. ’It’s a

magazine, a web site and a direct booking phone service. I got the idea

from Good Housekeeping, which is one of the few mags to offer readers a

full service outside the pages of the mag itself through things like the

Good Housekeeping Institute.



’The title is aimed at people like me who are money-rich but

time-poor. People don’t just go on two holidays a year any more. They’ll

take six or eight weekends away and we will be including those sort of

breaks as well as the bigger holidays. And if you see something you like

in the magazine, you can give us a call and we will book it for you, or

you can use the web site to do the same thing.’



Launched in September, the magazine will see a second issue in January

and will then go monthly from April. Ring wants to include fashion,

health and beauty elements as well as travel advice and guides for

people hoping to use her one-stop-shop service. She describes Escape

Routes as the populist competitor to Conde Nast Traveller, much as OK!

is to Hello.



Lindsay Nicholson, editor-in-chief of Good Housekeeping, who worked with

Ring on the British Society of Magazine Editors committee in 1997, says

that such an attitude of effrontery is typical of Ring. ’Sharon takes

things on face-to-face, which is a rare talent. But she’s very grounded.

She knows the importance of a home life and friendship, which enables

her to be the consummate professional in the workplace.’



HIGHLIGHTS

1984

Features and showbiz writer, News of the World

1995

Editor, OK! magazine

1998

Launch editor, Escape Routes



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