The Life Of… An Online Magazine Editor

By Ellie Palmer, Online Editor & Assistant Editor at Pianist Magazine


Ellie Web

Interview with Ellie Palmer, Online Editor & Assistant Editor at Pianist Magazine

How did you start your career in journalism?

Before university, I had my own blog sites; one in which I documented my travels to different countries, and one in which I documented my experiences of gigs I went to. I loved the idea of immortalising my memories of those moments into words. Whenever I read the blog posts back, I remember how I felt in the moment. A lot of those moments were special: I saw Alicia Keys, Beyoncé, Tori Kelly… I love that I can just re-read the pieces I wrote on those performances and feel those feelings again. I ended up taking a journalism module at university, and that’s where my career in writing began. I decided to find local publications that would let me write for their websites for free in order to get myself some more experience. It was being in the right place at the right time, and having a heap of work experience in different fields.


How did you become Online Editor of Pianist?

It was an accumulation of being  in  the  right  place  at the right time, and having a heap of work experience in different fields. I had been freelance writing for a number of music publications in Germany, Australia, the UK and the USA in the lead up to stumbling across the Pianist job online. All this experience put me in pole position. The   job description also required me to have my grade 8 in piano and a university degree, both of which I luckily had. I honestly feel that if I had not grafted as hard as I did, I wouldn’t have gotten the job.


Can you give some background on Pianist magazine – who owns it, how many people work there etc?

Pianist magazine is owned by Warners Group Publications – a magazine publisher specialising in niche titles. They currently have over 50 magazines on their books. Each magazine has a team of editors, designers, marketers and publishers. There are around 10 people that work solely on the Pianist team. The mag launched back in October 2001 and we have published 108 issues since!


What is the demographic for Pianist, and who and how is it consumed?

Before I joined, the main demographic was 45+ US/UK readers. Since I’ve joined, I’m glad to say that the average age has come down a little! We now attract mainly 25-34 year olds from all over the world. We offer our mag in both print and digital form. Surprisingly, print is still our most popular option.


As Online Editor what does your role consist of?

To put it simply, I look after the website and the social media channels. I write all of the website’s content – news, advice articles, interviews etc. I have to make sure the website always stays relevant and up-to-date. Running the social media channels requires daily monitoring. We are very active online and like to talk to our readers regularly.  I recently added the role of Assistant Editor to my title, so now I basically have two jobs (help!). I have to proof read every page of each issue before it goes to print. Fortunately, I also get the chance to write a couple of pieces inside the magazine as well.


Is there a daily routine in your role?

I actually have an 8-week routine! It takes 8 weeks to produce the next issue of the mag, so I have a set plan throughout those 8 weeks of when I will work on the magazine, and when I will work on the website.


What have you learnt whilst working at Pianist?

It’s difficult to put into words just how much I have learnt since being here. I’ve learnt a lot about the way this industry works. It takes a huge amount of effort to put a magazine together. Navigating the work load is the biggest and most beneficial thing I have learned since being here.


Do you get many pitches for reviews etc and what do you think makes a good pitch?

We get a lot! I want to see music that is different to what’s currently out there. I like to hear back stories behind the music as well. To read about how an album came together and what inspired it helps me to understand the music more. There is one thing that bugs me, however. Some companies type their email subject lines in capital letters to try and catch our attention… I’m actually more likely to not read it! It feels like you are being shouted at.


There has been a big resurgence in physical print across specialist and local magazines and papers. Why do you think this is?

People always seem to resort back to habits of the past. We see this in fashion and music at the moment. Trends from the 80s and 90s are coming back around. It’s a never- ending cycle. I think it’s the same with magazines. They were so popular in the 90s and 2000s. I think people want to relive those days.


Does Pianist magazine still plan to provide printed copies?

Yes. We sell more printed copies than digital copies. Our magazines come with 40 pages of sheet music, and we all know everyone prefers the feel of real sheet music compared to an electronic copy. I have no doubts that we will still be selling our print copies for a good few years to come yet.


Are there any tips you could give others wanting to create a career in this industry?

My top tip would be: don’t undervalue yourself. It can be easy to work for free, especially if you need experience. That is ok for a short amount of time, but get out of there as soon as you can. Your work is of value, and you should be paid for it. Or, ask them for money!


Do you think it’s possible to make a living from journalism?

Yes! Absolutely.

Ellie Palmer

Online Editor & Assistant Editor at Pianist Magazine

By Ellie Palmer, Online Editor & Assistant Editor at Pianist Magazine

Ellie Web

Interview with Ellie Palmer, Online Editor & Assistant Editor at Pianist Magazine

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