My Life In Media: Andy Davis

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The Independent Online

Andy Davis, 41, is editor of FT Weekend, the Saturday and Sunday edition of the Financial Times. He has been with the FT for 13 years, having joined the paper as a sub-editor and worked his way up. When he is not at the Pink 'Un he is probably fishing. He lives in Islington, north London.



What inspired you to embark on a career in the media?

A conviction (which turned out to be right) that it would be a lot of fun. I was always interested in news and loved the idea of being where it was made. Besides, as more than one eminent journalist has observed, it's better than working. I couldn't agree more.



When you were 15 years old, which newspaper did your family get? And did you read it?

I grew up in a family of middle-class liberals. Naturally, I read The Guardian and The Observer.



And what were your favourite TV and radio programmes?

The programme I remember enjoying most from around that time was The Tube, the music show Jools Holland and Paula Yates used to host on Channel 4. After years of watching Top of the Pops and getting tired of all the miming, real live music on TV was a breath of fresh air. I loved it. And also, it was around that time that I started going to see lots of bands play live.



Describe your job

I'm editor of FT Weekend, so my job basically is to guide and encourage a large team of people who commission and produce the various sections of the weekend paper. These cover everything from personal finance to arts, books and gardening. It's the most relaxed and informal face of the Financial Times, though we always aim to offer something that's classy and different from what you'll find elsewhere.



What are the first media sources you turn to in the mornings?

Today on Radio 4. It's essential listening.



Do you consult any media sources during the day?

I keep an eye on FT.com and the MediaGuardian site.



What do you tune into when you get home?

I don't watch much TV nowadays, although I still try to catch the BBC news at 10pm. Recently, I've developed a serious addiction to The Wire, so I'm probably more likely to be watching that on DVD. The last TV show I couldn't miss was Masterchef.



What is the best thing about your job?

I'm in charge of my own time, which is one of the greatest luxuries you can have, and I get to work with an extraordinarily talented and friendly group of people, which is another. I love every part of the creative work that goes into making newspapers and magazines – having ideas, developing them with writers and commissioning editors, editing stories, writing headlines and coverlines, working with art directors on design and photography, everything. It's just great fun. And I love watching people in the team develop and take on bigger, more challenging roles.



And the worst?

Admin is a killer. As is forgetting a good idea before I have managed to write it down. Both of these can make me weep with frustration.



How do you feel you influence the media?

I hope that occasionally I make other editors think: "I wish I'd thought of that." That's certainly how the media influence me.



What's the proudest achievement in your working life?

Seeing the Financial Times win three Newspaper of the Year awards in the space of just a few weeks earlier this year. That was a special time for me, as I'd done a lot of work on the design changes to the paper that we made last year – I'd like to think they contributed to our success.



And what has been your most embarrassing moment?

That would be mis-spelling the name of the merchant bank Barings in a headline when I was a very junior sub-editor on the paper, a few weeks after I joined. I expected to get the boot, but thankfully I lived to fight another day.

What is your Sunday newspaper? And do you have any favourite magazines?

The Sunday newspaper is a tie between The Observer and The Sunday Times. My favourite magazines are The Economist and the New Yorker. I also think there are some great stories in GQ and Vanity Fair.

Name the one career ambition you want to realise before you retire?

To enjoy as many of my days in the business as possible. If it's not fun, you should look for another job.



What would you do if you didn't work in the media?

I would want to work for myself, so I'd probably be trying to run a whelk stall.



Who in the media do you most admire and why?

The late Peter Martin, who worked at the FT – intelligent, insightful and a very fluent writer. And Kelvin MacKenzie – mad, bad and dangerous to work for, but a true tabloid great.

The CV

1990 Begins working as a trainee reporter on the Swindon Evening Advertiser before moving to Hendon Times group in north London



1995 Joins the Financial Times as a sub editor before moving into various production and commissioning roles



2000 Sets up and edits the FT's new Creative Business supplement, covering the media and entertainment industries



2005 Moves to New Delhi to become the FT's Director of Business Development for India



2006 Returns to the UK to become FT's development editor, overseeing last year's redesign of the paper



2007 Editor of FT's Weekend section

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