Media Profile: The ultimate girl about town - Vicky Mayer, editor, Time Out

Call it bad timing, bad luck or both but Vicky Mayer’s very first day as Time Out’s new editor on 2 February just happens to coincide with the first issue of a new national entertainment and listings title called Heat.

Call it bad timing, bad luck or both but Vicky Mayer’s very first

day as Time Out’s new editor on 2 February just happens to coincide with

the first issue of a new national entertainment and listings title

called Heat.



Under the circumstances you would expect her to be a little

intimidated.



Not a bit of it. ’I’m so excited,’ she gushes. ’I’m just passionate

about Time Out and passionate abut London.’



Time Out has just celebrated its 30th birthday and it is beginning to

show its age. Every newspaper now offers a free listings title at the

weekend and yet more media owners are eyeing up the sector. Time Out’s

circulation which has already dropped from a high of 108,000 to 98,000

is set to fall further.



So can the effervescent Mayer reverse this trend? The fact that her

experience lies chiefly in titles such as Options, TV Times and Inside

Soap can only help to endow Time Out with a populist touch. Former

colleague and editor of J17 Ally Oliver thinks so: ’If anyone can bring

Time Out kicking and screaming into the 21st Century then it is

Vicky.’



Mayer will doubtless be a very hands-on editor. Her mission is to live

the life of the magazine, which means she intends her team to go out and

do the legwork for Londoners whether it is eating, drinking, clubbing or

playing bingo.



Having spent two and a half of the last three years in Australia, Mayer

has some catching up to do. While in Australia, she worked for Attic

Futura’s TV and entertainment titles. She has spent the last six months

in London working on new UK launches for the publisher, such as a glossy

women’s title, still under development and codenamed Project Silver.



Although she is far too diplomatic to say it outright I sense that she

feels Time Out has failed to capitalise on its unique position as the

voice of London. ’I want to strengthen the Londoner’s view and be more

campaigning about issues,’ she says.



No one else is. The Evening Standard used to regularly run

investigations but has given up this costly form of journalism in favour

of more celebrity and style stories. Which is not to say that Time Out

will eschew celebrity interviews, but Mayer wants to add a spin that

makes them relevant to the capital’s readers. Mayer’s vision for the

title is one that will appeal to students and daytrippers as much as it

does to busy City workers.



Although the listings will remain a core element of the magazine she

will be demanding her staff to explore the quirkier side of London more

and not just routinely report on the opening of an exhibition or the

latest clubs.



Mayer says the magazine will be ’refreshed’ but if more drastic measures

are needed then she is not afraid to take them, say friends and

ex-colleagues.



’Vicky’s just a no-nonsense south Londoner with her feet firmly on the

ground,’ says ex-colleague and editor of Bliss, Kerry Parnell. ’And she

just loves a challenge.’



Which is good because she’s just found one.



HIGHLIGHTS

1996

Editorial director, TV Hits and Girlfriend, Attic Futura Australia

1997

Publisher TV Week, Attic Futura, Australia

1998

Publisher, Attic Futura New Launches

1999

Editor, Time Out



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