The Condé Nast College was delighted to welcome Mike Christensen to our virtual lecture theatre this week for an industry talk over Zoom as he gave our students valuable advice on how to be a magazine editor now.
How to be a Magazine Editor
Mike shared his unique experience and insight to tell our students what it was like being an editor at the helm of one of the biggest men’s magazines in the Southern Hemisphere.
Mike has had an incredible career and has over 13 years of experience working in the men’s luxury lifestyle sector. He is best known for evolving GQ Australia to become one of the most progressive GQs in the world, and the leading men’s lifestyle brand Down Under.
About Mike Christensen
After gaining a degree in English Literature at Exeter University, Mike completed internships at both British Vogue and GQ and was a finalist in the Vogue Talent Contest. He took a sub-editor course, subsequently honing his skills as a freelance writer and sub-editor for titles such as Mr Porter. He became Head of Editorial at Bayswater Publishing overseeing the creation of content for The Evening Standard, The Telegraph and The Mail on Sunday and across regional titles.
Mike joined GQ Australia in 2012, first as Chief Sub-Editor, then as Managing Editor and was appointed Editor-in-Chief in 2017. He was tasked with refreshing the GQ brand to make it more inclusive and relevant and to grow the brand across digital, social, and experiential areas. Mike led the print and digital teams and grew GQ’s total audience by 16.3% while also achieving the highest print audience in over six years. He succeeded in reducing the average age of the print reader to 32 identifying with Gen Y and Z.
He worked with the advertising team to hit annual targets across print and exceeded expectations across digital platforms and events. He launched Studio GQ, a creative think-tank working with advertisers to integrate brand messages for multiple platforms. He successfully launched and co-hosted a podcast series called The Men Who Raised Us whilst writing, commissioning and editing the magazine.
Key Takeaways – How to be a Magazine Editor
- Have a vision for your brand and embrace your identity
- Think about the bigger picture – it’s not just a creative outlet and it is a multimedia platform, so what are the potential revenue streams?
- Stay relevant
- Be inclusive and relatable
- Delegate – and prioritise your time
- Embody the brand
- Follow your intuition
- Educate yourself and never stop
- Think about your tone – it is important to empower the reader, so it’s better to be an enabler, rather than an authority
- Be adaptable – be flexible and receptive to change
- Understanding Gen Z – learn how they digest content
- Be a good communicator – leaders don’t have to be loud
- Have a diverse team – it’s important to tell a diverse range of stories
- Team work – makes the dream work