Saturday supplements battle it out forbath time

Two editors discuss how they mix glamour and news to fit changing lifestyles, counteract the monthlies and do what the web can't.

MICHELE LAVERY - assistant editor, The Saturday Telegraph, editor, Telegraph Magazine

- Why is Saturday now the "battleground" for newspapers?

It comes down to time. For many, Saturday is the day to recharge your batteries, take it easy, enjoy brunch with friends; Sunday is still the day to do things with your family, but it is as likely to involve a trip to your nearest trendy homestore as lunch in your favourite pub.

- Who has time to read a supplement on a Saturday?

The shape of weekends is changing. Saturday is now a day for spending time at home and taking it easy - newspapers and supplements fit into this change of pace. Also, the magazine lasts the whole week; I often see commuters reading it not just on a Monday but also even on a Friday.

- What's the difference between a Saturday and a Sunday supplement?

None.

- What makes a good newspaper magazine supplement?

Consistently high standard of ideas, executed brilliantly in the writing and photography. For me, it is combining the editorial quality and consideration of a monthly with the immediacy of a weekly.

- What's the best ad you've ever carried?

The latest leopard print Kate Moss Louis Vuitton ad, normally only seen in a monthly glossy.

- Is online a threat or an opportunity for your particular publication?

You can't read online in the bath. A magazine will always be an indulgence. But online provides our readers with great opportunities to interact directly with their favourite writers and photographers.

- Despite not being on the newsstand, how important is a strong cover and coverlines?

Very important. The cover should always say "read me". You want the magazine to be irresistible to readers and this is all they have to go on before opening it up. I always choose the best, most arresting, most beautiful image, along with intriguing coverlines. But I appreciate we are free from the tyranny of the celebrity cover that dominates the monthly magazine market. We can afford to be more unpredictable.

- What are the strengths of your magazine?

I see it as a standalone magazine with a unique mix of seriousness and glamour that rivals monthly glossies. We cultivate the best writers and most prestigious photographers. The magazine appeals to male and female interests and you get everything from retail therapy to the definitive interview and newsworthy features.

- How would you describe your editing style?

Instinctive.

- Do you think, given the range of content included, paper coverprices are too low?

I think we offer excellent value for money. It is an amazing product for less than the price of a latte.

- What do you do on a typical Saturday?

Sleep, yoga, farmer's market, read, supper with friends.

GILL MORGAN - editor, The Saturday Times magazine, deputy editor, The Saturday Times

- Why is Saturday now the "battleground" for newspapers?

In terms of how people spend their time, there has been a merging between the two days, readers want a big, information-packed read as soon as they can get it. Also, advertisers like Saturday because it gives readers a chance to act on what they read - a whole weekend to consume.

- Who has time to read a supplement on a Saturday?

Everyone, but at different times and in different ways. On Saturdays, you see twentysomethings having late breakfasts in cafes, swapping their sections across the table, and parents at kids' football almost always have a paper with them.

- What's the difference between a Saturday and a Sunday supplement?

Saturday magazines have more bite and urgency than the Sundays. Sunday has fractured into niche magazines within one newspaper, while the Saturdays remain general, with strong lifestyle elements for men and women.

- What makes a good newspaper magazine supplement?

It needs to feel like a treat - stimulating and sumptuous with gorgeous interiors, fashion, food and drink, but with some grit. We have the values and journalistic standards of the newspaper, wrapped in our own glamorous clothes.

- What's the best ad you've ever carried?

For looks, Dolce & Gabbana and Armani; for impact, Chanel No 5 gatefold; for innovation and sheer volume, a nine-page John Lewis special.

- Is online a threat or an opportunity for your particular publication?

Opportunity. For consumer interest, online can add detail and, increasingly, this is how we operate - the visual, inspirational feature in print, and a depth of practical information online. Potential for magazines online is huge and this creates opportunities for advertisers.

- Despite not being on the newsstand, how important is a strong cover and coverlines?

The cover image has to be powerful. We take as much care over the coverlines as if we were on the newsstand. Coverlines are the reader's first point of entry to our product and therefore very important.

- What are the strengths of your magazine?

Our writers are the best around; stylish, funny, opinionated. Our photography is very strong, and our lifestyle coverage is accessible as well as inspirational. Our overriding strength is that we are a magazine with a strong character.

- How would you describe your editing style?

Very hands-on. As editor, you have to make sure that each element of the magazine works hard for the reader.

- Do you think, given the range of content included, paper coverprices are too low?

Considering the expertise, talent, range, depth and size of newspapers, they're great value for money. But prices are set at the level the readers will bear. With news available free on the web, it's clear that magazines can be a really useful weapon because we can provide something the web can't; luxurious time curled up on the sofa or in the bath.

- What do you do on a typical Saturday?

The kids head to the park and we head to the DIY shop. If we've got friends coming for dinner, I'll go to the market. If not, it's the cinema or DVD shop, plus the Saturday papers.

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