CV

EILEEN WISE Director of Corporate Communications, National Magazines

I left school in the mid-Seventies, after O-levels, with little idea what I wanted to do. I'd heard of something called PR, which sounded interesting, but I didn't really know what it was about.

My first job was as a temporary secretary in a small PR consultancy in London, whose major client was a beer company. I had to type a report about a new lager they were launching, but I typed lager as "larger" all the way through it, and a permanent job didn't happen. After temping around a bit more, I went into Selfridges as a PA to its publicity director. When one of the press officers left, I got my boss to give me a trial in the job, and ended up working there for a couple of years.

I was then offered a job by a company called Tube Investments, which made household goods, but I didn't find consumer PR very interesting. But I moved on to a job with Walt Disney, as chief press officer, which was one of the best periods of my career. It taught me a lot about how the media behave; when we hired actors to dress up and tour round as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to promote a re-release of the film, I got a call from The Sun to say our Snow White had done a Men Only spread.

After about five years there I decided I wanted a change of scene, and was promised a job in New York with a new film company. But as soon as I moved out there the job fell through, and because New York was such a difficult place to find work, I decided to call people I knew on Fleet Street to ask if I could do stories for columns. I began by feeding into things like "Bizarre" on The Sun, and doing things for various newspapers when their New York correspondents weren't available. When I'd been in New York for a while, I was offered work at an entertainment PR company, and I also worked for a terrible American tabloid called The Star, which was an enlightening experience but not one I'd like to repeat.

After two years there I was quite homesick, and in 1985 I came back to London to do PR for a cable movie channel called The Entertainment Network. Unfortunately that folded after a few months, so I went back into journalism, freelancing for the Mail, The Express, the Evening Standard and Media Week. I also spent a year as an investigative reporter for the Sunday People, exposing fraudulent timeshare operations and infiltrating an anarchist group called Class War.

Apart from a six-month stint at Anglia Television as a drama press officer, I carried on in journalism, working at Today as the deputy diary editor and for Hello! as it launched. But in 1990 I was offered the chance to work as press officer to Robert Maxwell for four months, during the launch of The European - which I felt couldn't be missed. It was exciting, launching a new paper, and at the end I felt gratified, having got Maxwell interviewed in every major newspaper, even though journalists didn't like him.

After that I worked for Hello! again as a freelance, before going to Andrew Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Group as public relations manager. But then I decided I wanted to make television programmes. It took me quite a long time to get in, but eventually I was offered a job as a researcher on Surprise Surprise. After that I went to work for the BBC on its Inside Story documentaries, and later for LWT on Crime Monthly.

During my time in TV I became very interested in politics, and went to party conferences for about three years running. I learnt a lot, and made some contacts, one of whom was Charles Lewington, political editor of the Sunday Express. When he later became the Conservatives' director of communications, he offered me a job as head of news at Conservative Central Office, and I started in March 1996. The six weeks of the election campaign were both the most gruelling and exciting of my entire life. But one of my jobs was serving as Norma Major's press officer, and working with her I was able to get away from the fray of everyday politics.

But, at Christmas, Terry Mansfield, the managing director of National Magazines, asked me if I would be interested in running his PR operation. He was prepared to wait until I was free to join, and I left Conservative Central Office a few days after the election. I begin at National Magazines this week, and it's going to be wonderful to be able to promote such good titles as Cosmo, Esquire and Harpers & Queen.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
Seth Rollins cashes in his Money in the Bank contract to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
WWERollins win the WWE World Heavyweight title in one of the greatest WrestleMania's ever seen
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Ashdown Group: Web Developer - ASP.NET, C#, MVC - London

£45000 - £55000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Web Developer -...

Ashdown Group: .NET Developer : ASP.NET , C# , MVC , web development

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Excellent benefits - see advert: Ashdown Group: .N...

Guru Careers: 3D Package Designer / 3D Designer

£25 - 30K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an exceptional 3D Package Designer / 3...

Guru Careers: Interior Designer

£Competitive: Guru Careers: We are seeking a strong Middleweight / Senior Inte...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor