MEDIA PROFILE: Loaded with enthusiasm - Derek Harbinson, editor, Loaded

There are some jobs which just scream ’pressure’. You’ve got the eyes of the world on you and, for the first six months, every move you make will be analysed by experts and the public alike. Jobs such as the President of the US, manager of the England football team and, oh, say the editor of Loaded who replaces James Brown.

There are some jobs which just scream ’pressure’. You’ve got the

eyes of the world on you and, for the first six months, every move you

make will be analysed by experts and the public alike. Jobs such as the

President of the US, manager of the England football team and, oh, say

the editor of Loaded who replaces James Brown.



Step forward Derek Harbinson, former chief sub-editor of the title.

You’d be forgiven for asking ’who?’ All the media commentators have

spent the week asking that very question. Following on from a public

figure like Brown, Harbinson is a complete unknown. However, Brown

himself pooh poohed the media mutterings. ’When I came to Loaded, no-one

knew who I was,’ he pointed out. ’Look at Marie Claire. No-one knew who

Juliet Warkentin was when she took over from Glenda Bailey and she’s

doing a great job.’



Harbinson has a solid journalistic background to his credit. He grew up

in Ulster and spent six years training on the Ulster Star in Lisburn

then travelled over to Sydney where he worked on Murdoch’s Daily

Telegraph and Star. ’I rang them up for some freelance work, they asked

me where I was from, I said Belfast and they said ’do you want to start

tomorrow?’’’ he recalls. ’I don’t know if they thought I was threatening

them or something.’



But doesn’t the subject matter of Loaded seem a bit trivial after

covering a beat that included bombings, beatings and shootings? ’No, not

really,’ he says. ’I think the newspaper background makes you look for a

sense of energy and that’s what the Loaded office has. It feels like a

newspaper office. There’s always something going on. It’s not like any

magazine I’ve ever seen.’



The atmosphere and attitude of Loaded is something he clearly wants to

retain. After all, with 400,000 readers, it’s not a formula you’d want

to throw away but he concedes that change is always a possibility. ’The

brilliant thing about this magazine is that you can introduce a new

section, let it run for two months and get rid of it,’ he says.

’Everything is always under review. All I care about is whether the

person who’s writing a piece has passion. They need to have passion

about their subject matter whether it be a new band or an ice

lolly.’



He aims to continue with the tours such as the ’Buy Us A Pint’ tour,

where readers invite Loaded journalists to their local pub. He is not

planning to thrust someone into the high-profile Martin Deeson role (the

former deputy editor who was often snapped in full party mode), but is

content to let that sort of thing sort itself out. ’If I went up to

someone and said ’You! Go out and get wasted all the time.’ then it

wouldn’t work,’ he explains. ’I want the best freelancers to be knocking

at our door all the time, but the magazine is bigger than any individual

journalist and always has been.’



So what does he think Loaded’s attitude should be? ’Loaded has spirit,’

he says. ’It wants to have a good time all of the time. It does all the

things you want to do.’ And is that him? ’Well, yes. But I’m also very

lazy.’



HIGHLIGHTS

1994

Sub-editor, Daily Telegraph and Mirror, Sydney

1996

Casual sub-editor, Loaded

1997

Chief sub-editor, Loaded

1997

Editor, Loaded



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