THE EDITOR'S DESK: Sarah MacKinlay, Total Politics

Total Politics launches next week, with high profile backing from Tory billionaire Lord Ashcroft. Who will be queuing to buy it?

We're sending copies to 23,000 elected politicians, from local councillors to MPs and MEPs. It is going to be available on the newsstand. For lots of people, titles such as The Spectator and the New Statesman are unapproachable.

They are very serious and dry. We are positive about the political process - we're not covering policy, but the business and lifestyle of politics. It is a trade magazine for politicians and politicos. We want to be fun and insightful and provide advice, like how to stand for local election - or even a general election.

What sorts of pitches are you looking for from PR professionals?
There is quite a lot in the magazine that lends itself to public affairs. In our launch issue, for example, we have a feature on the cars that MPs drive, and the cars they'd like to drive. We want to do a piece on politicians and their diets. Their lifestyles can be pretty bad. There are all sorts of issues with health and nutrition.

What do you dislike most about the PR industry?
I do not like to be too negative. PR people give us the information we need; they facilitate stories and make things happen.

The pet hate for me is a generic press release. It wastes their time as much as mine. Having said that, PROs often go out of their way to do quite the opposite, even if the connection is a bit tenuous.

Do you have any time to read these days?
I literally read every paper on weekdays, or at least flick through all the nationals. On weekends, I read the Saturday Guardian cover to cover, and the Weekend magazine. On Sunday it's The Observer and The Sunday Mirror.

I always read The Spectator, the New Statesman, The House Magazine and of course Private Eye. And I sneak in a little Heat now and then!

Launch date: 23 June 2008


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