Gay Times editor Darren Scott talks Winter Olympics, Bette Midler and lunchboxes

Darren Scott: "Some of my best friends are PRs."
Darren Scott: "Some of my best friends are PRs."

How do you feel as you come into work?

Excited. Does that make me sound like a nerd? I’ve had jobs where I’ve dreaded going in, but as editor of Gay Times, I can’t wait to get to work.

What makes a great story?

For Gay Times, it is usually one with a bit of flesh. Who knew that four years of studying journalism would lead to me asking people to take their clothes off?  

How has the magazine sought to engage with gay rights issues?

We’ve always covered gay rights issues. We started life as HIM magazine in 1974, before becoming Gay Times in 1984. Thankfully in 2014, this is not quite as big a hurdle as it was in 1974 or 1984, but it’s still something we engage with.

What did you do in the run up to the Winter Olympics in Sochi?

We’ve boycotted more things than I think we ever participated in. Being serious though, we were the first gay press to report on LGBT rights in Russia and the implications that  the Winter Olympics could have. We’ve continued to cover this, and link to updates from Pink News on our social media where applicable – news changes far too quickly for a four-weekly publication to report as new.

What did you think of the coverage of gay rights during the Games?

It was fantastic and moving, and often heartbreaking. I hope we can take from this that it is not an isolated incident during the Games, it’s all the time. And it’s not just in Russia – it’s happening all over the world. The most important thing is that the coverage should make people step out of their comfort zone and question what is happening in other countries.

Why do you do this job?

I genuinely love it. It’s the best job I’ve ever had – and I’ve had a few. 

As a child I wanted to be…

A diver, but then I learned about sharks. Then I wanted to be a pop star but I thought you had to win Eurovision to be ‘allowed’. Plus I couldn’t sing. Then I wanted to work on magazines, but I thought that was just a dream job.

When is the worst time to pitch to you?

There’s not a worst time, apart from press week. But saying that, if it’s something important, then I’ll stop what I’m doing to reply regardless. 

What is the best time to pitch to you?

Any time of night or day. I prefer pitches by email. I usually have my phone switched to voicemail because I spent too much time answering all manner of strange calls.

What is your view of PR professionals?

They are essential to my job, so I’m forever grateful to them. Some of my best friends are PRs.

The one thing that gets in the way of doing my job is…

People phoning up to speed-read a press release that they have emailed me. Or people working on small pro­jects getting uppity because it’s important to them.

What gives you the most job satisfaction?

Seeing the finished magazine and knowing that we put it together – and that people will love it.

What’s your management style?

I’m probably more laid-back than I should be. As long as everyone is doing what they’re supposed to be doing and pre-empting what’s going to be asked of them, then I’m fine. If not, well, I’ve seen enough Wilhelmina Slater [Ugly Betty character].

In five years’ time I will be…

I will be 33 years old, the same as I am now, and the same as I was five years ago. Hopefully, I’ll still be editing a publication and still loving it. And maybe I’ll have written more books.

What’s in your lunch box?

Ah, the different connotations from working on a gay title… Soup, at the moment. During the summer, homemade sandwiches. That’s dull, but I’m terribly Scottish in that I don’t see the point in wasting money on lunch. I will, however, gladly wolf down any promotional cupcakes.

From whom have you learned the most?

"Pretty legs, great big knockers – that’s what sells them tickets at the door" – Bette Midler. Apart from that, I was taught by two brilliant lecturers at Napier University – Marian Pallister and John Linklater. And my nana.

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