Voted best new magazine of the year by the Association of
Circulation Executives, B obviously made an impression in an already
crowded women’s market after its launch in 1997.
New editor Lorraine Butler took up the post in June from the Times’
Saturday magazine, where she was deputy editor, and has just seen her
first issue hit the streets. Butler’s background is firmly rooted in
newspapers and she says her whole reason for becoming a journalist was
to work for the Daily Mirror.
After training on the Cornish Times and the Wimbledon News she fulfilled
this ambition by becoming a Daily Mirror feature writer in 1990. There
followed stints on the Sun and Today until, as she admits ’Marie Claire
opened my mind to magazines’.
Butler has already set her sights on raising B’s circulation figures
from 200,000 a month to 300,000 and believes that her newspaper
background could be a key factor in consolidating the title’s
’We’ll be chasing the features the newspapers would be chasing that are
right for our age group and we’ll have a stronger celebrity element,’
she says. ’Magazine readers are as sophisticated as newspaper
Butler believes that most young women do not conform to the new
’ladette’ image - indulging in excessive drinking and aping their male
counterparts’ sexual behaviour and wants to target B accordingly.
’We are appealing to normal young women as opposed to other magazines
which are trying to get an edge and appeal to that ladette thing. But
what I don’t ever want to do is make the reader feel guilty about her
Butler is equally clear about what she and the magazine want from PR
people. For a start they must do their homework, read the magazine and
target the title accordingly. And she does not appreciate PR people
ringing up for complete features lists.
’I might as well send it out to our rivals like Company and Mizz while
I’m at it. It’s that attitude of not taking magazines seriously enough
that I worry about,’ she says.
Demanding though she may seem, Butler is a staunch believer in fostering
positive relations with the PR industry and will embark on a ’meet the
PR people’ mission from the end of August through a series of breakfast
’You have to know people and develop some kind of rapport so that you
can trust what they are offering and they can trust that you will give
it decent coverage. And the only way to do that is by meeting people
face-to-face,’ she says.
Butler says she doesn’t believe in stand-offs between journalists and
public relations people. ’It’s a very incestuous industry so you don’t
know when you might come across people again and regret that you hadn’t
1990: Feature writer, Daily Mirror
1993: Woman’s editor, Today newspaper
1995: Deputy editor, Marie Claire
1997: Deputy editor, Times Magazine
1998: Editor, B.