Media Profile: Bringing up baby - Anita Bevan, editor, Family Life

Being a parent and editing a magazine for parents puts a bit of pressure on you to deliver the goods parenting-wise. It’s a burden Anita Bevan the editor of the BBC’s new magazine BBC Family Life - has had to carry for her entire career, since taking her first job as an editorial assistant on Parenting magazine. Barely a few years later, she gave birth to her first child Joanna.

Being a parent and editing a magazine for parents puts a bit of

pressure on you to deliver the goods parenting-wise. It’s a burden Anita

Bevan the editor of the BBC’s new magazine BBC Family Life - has had to

carry for her entire career, since taking her first job as an editorial

assistant on Parenting magazine. Barely a few years later, she gave

birth to her first child Joanna.



’I’ve been quite lucky because the magazines I’ve edited have always

matched the ages of my children,’ she says. ’For my kids, however, they

have had years of acting as guinea pigs. Whenever I go home they go to

my bag and see what I’ve bought home for them this time. I have to

divide my work and my personal life very firmly. At work I am Anita

Bevan, but when I take my coat off at home, I’m Mrs Hedges.’



Curiously for a journalist who seems to have specialised in parenting

issues for such a long time, she really wanted to get into health or

consumer writing when she started out. Having found her way into the

parenting market, however, she never looked back. She formed her own

publishing company to launch independent parenting magazines and publish

for the Pre-school Playgroups Association before arriving at the BBC

this June.



BBC Family Life is a monthly which launched on 23 October and targets

ABC1 mothers. It’s a features-led title, although there will be news

sections on key areas such as health and education and the features will

have a newsy edge. Thus, you are likely to find advice on choosing

schools or the risks of antibiotics rather than excessively fluffy

nonsense. Bevan also hopes to introduce purely entertaining features

based on real life readers stories and even some articles on dealing

with divorce.



’The magazine will stretch from what to do with your children on wet

weekends to what’s being taught about sex in schools and from creating

quick family meals to the latest health issues,’ she explains. ’There

will also be a focus on relationships with partners as well as fashion

and beauty features that are really useful.’



Bevan explains that there will not be any great emphasis on the

traditional idea of the nuclear family with 2.4 children, as that type

of family structure is far rarer these days.



The parenting magazine sector is a crowded one and, according to Bevan,

it’s going to become even more competitive.



’The National Magazine Company is planning to launch against us next

spring I understand,’ she says.



’They dipped their toe into the water with She’s Having A Baby and they

will launch a full title next year. I suppose I should be alarmed at all

this competition but families have been so out of fashion until recently

that I just think it’s nice to see so much interest again.’



HIGHLIGHTS

1978 - Editor, Parents

1982 - Managing editor, Parents

1986 - Editor, Under Five

1989 - Editor, Right Start

1997 - Launch editor, BBC Family Life



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