Ask a professional

Ask a professionalEddie Gormley (BA Hons English Literature, 1983) is a magazine editor and account director at 44 Communications, a corporate communications agency that produces print and online publications for the employees and stakeholders of a wide range of blue-chip businesses, including supermarkets, engineering manufacturers and utility companies.

What does your role entail?

I’m responsible for managing the team that puts the publications together, so I oversee the journalists, designers and the whole production cycle. Part of my role is to set the publications’ communication strategies and ensure that the content is in keeping with publications’ objectives and tones of voice, which is no small feat considering all of the different aspects that make up any publication. I also make sure that our clients are happy with the quality of the outputs and that the titles stay relevant to the changing needs of those companies.  

What are the biggest challenges you face?

I make sure we hit our deadlines while maintaining the high quality of the content and overall publication. With any publication, there are so many aspects to juggle that you find yourself spinning plates to get everything done, but the best way to achieve this is to stay focused and be up for hitting those deadlines.

When you’re in the thick of getting each task completed, it can sometimes be hard to make sure the publications stay fresh and in line with modern publishing trends, but I’m a great believer in taking the time to bounce new ideas around with the writers, photographers and designers. Ideas can come from anywhere – other publications you like, television programmes you have watched and random things that people say to me.

What qualities do you need to be a good editor?

First, you need to know how to use language to write and sub-edit your own and other people’s articles to engage the audience with appealing content. You’ve got to be organised and good at prioritising and planning. And people skills are important – I’ve got to have good relationships with my team, my clients and the people I’m interviewing for articles.

How did you come to be a magazine editor?

While at university, I knew I wanted to write for a living  but I’d not done anything to gain any journalism experience. I got a job in Human Resources instead, working at Peugeot Talbot where I met the person responsible for its company newspaper. I knew nothing about internal communications and had no idea you could have a career writing publications for a company’s employees. When he set up his own agency, I jumped ship, took a large pay cut and have never looked back! I joined 44 after spending time as a board director in a PR agency and running my own business. I’m now really enjoying being part of a larger-scale operation like 44.

Being able to apply writing and editing skills while earning a decent living is, for me, a real privilege. I work in a fantastic sector.

What’s the biggest change you’ve seen in publishing?

The arrival of digital communications. It’s a perfect complement to printed publications and opens up so many possibilities for communication as a whole, in terms of starting actual – and real-time – conversations with your audience and measuring the success and effectiveness of your approach to communications. It’s an exciting time!