MEDIA PROFILE: Vivienne Goldsmith, features editor, Sunday Business - A woman who means business

Most relaunches are supposed to be doomed to spectacular failure.

Most relaunches are supposed to be doomed to spectacular


But the Sunday Business breaks the rules: the relaunch is nearing its

first birthday and looking pretty healthy.

After the first incarnation failed in 1997, the paper was bought by the

Barclay Brothers who relaunched it under editor-in-chief Andrew Neil on

15 February 1998. Circulation has consistently risen. The January ABC

was 53,382, up 12 per cent on December, and the readership profile is an

ad sales team’s wet dream with 79 per cent of the readers in the

chairman, chief executive, financial director, partner and MD


’The turning point for the paper was actually before it launched,’

features editor Vivienne Goldsmith says. ’People changed their opinion

when they saw that Andrew Neil had recruited journalists of the calibre

of Jeff Randall as editor and Richard Northedge as deputy editor.’

As features editor, Goldsmith oversees the travel, arts, health,

recruitment, food and technology sections. Her coverage is tailored to

business people, but she tries to ensure her paper is one readers want

to read rather than feel they have to read for their job.

’Our fashion coverage recognises that the City isn’t full of 62-year-old

men, but it also knows our readers are as interested in who owns Louis

Vuitton as what’s on the Paris catwalk. I try to give them both,’ she

says. ’It means our travel section doesn’t have to be ashamed of doing

first class or expensive holidays, but we also look at the independent

holiday. We might do backpacking, but we would avoid the more hairshirt


Goldsmith is receptive to the PR industry. She took a break from

journalism in 1995 and spent three years as a consultant at corporate PR

specialists Fishburn Hedges.

She knows how hard it is for a PRO when the journalist fails to show up

for a planned client lunch and she is gentle with cold callers. ’As long

as they tell me both their names,’ she says. ’I don’t like it when

someone introduces herself simply as Tamsin. The other thing PR people

should know is that, unlike most people on Sunday newspapers, I’m in

every Monday,’ she says. ’In fact, the best days to get through to me

are Mondays and Fridays.’

But she’s still a steely character. ’Vivienne’s a very determined

journalist,’ says Rosie Unsworth, City news editor on the Evening

Standard and a former colleague. ’Many years ago, when we were on GP,

the features editor was sitting on some copy for Vivienne, who was news

editor. It was press day and she kept asking him for the copy, but it

just wasn’t coming. Finally, she riled him so much that he tipped over

her desk, spilling all her papers on to the floor. This was

pre-computers and all that paper was actually the magazine. She had a

very messy desk back then.’

Goldsmith has been the model of controlled professionalism during our

interview but actually blushes when I recount this story. ’I was just

very keen to get the pages out,’ she says. ’I do still have a messy

desk, but I know where everything is, even if no one else believes



1990: Personal finance editor, The Independent

1995: Consultant, Fishburn Hedges

1998: Features editor, Sunday Business.

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