Sarah Miller: My Life in Media

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The Independent Online

Sarah Miller, 47, is the editor of Condé Nast Traveller . She has won the British Society of Magazine Editors' Editor of the Year award four times and the Periodical Publishers Association's Consumer Lifestyle Magazine award twice. She lives in Camden with her husband, Deyan Sudjic, the director of the Design Museum, and their daughter, Olivia, who is about to begin university.

So what inspired you to embark on a career in the media?

Fluke. My father wanted me to have a "proper" job, but I had done work experience at Cosmopolitan. After I finished university the art director there asked me to come and help again.

When you were 15, which newspaper did your family get, and did you read it?

The Guardian and The Observer. I have read all the newspapers for as long as I can remember.

And what were your favourite TV and radio programmes?

I'm a Radio 4 addict. Back then, Top of the Pops before supper and then Panorama, World in Action and the news. I was passionate about David Attenborough.

Describe your job.

I edit Britain's best lifestyle magazine, selecting all the up-and-coming destinations and travel trends.

What's the first media you turn to in the mornings?

Radio 4, which becomes the World Service and then, after Farming Today, back to the Today programme. I have the radio on all night.

Do you consult any media sources during the working day?

I listen to The World at One at the same time as watching the news on BBC1. I flick through The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian and The Independent, with Radio 4 on. I also look at TravelMole online and Reuters.

What is the best thing about your job?

My team. They are absolutely wonderful, very dedicated and very hard-working. Many of them have been with me for the full 10 years since I launched Traveller. I'm very proud of them.

And the worst?

World-changing tragedies, natural disasters or idiotic wars, such as Iraq. I came in from home, having heard about the tsunami at 3am on Boxing Day, since I knew there would be features to change, phone calls from readers needing help, emails from advertisers to answer and support to offer.

How do you feel you influence the media?

Before we came along there were one or two other travel titles but we really launched the lifestyle-travel market. Since then other magazines have used us as the template to copy, which is deeply flattering.

What's the proudest achievement in your working life?

The tsunami fundraising dinner, which we did in six weeks and raised £250,000. That showed me Condé Nast Traveller's power and reach.

And what's your most embarrassing moment?

Running an hour late to meet Nicholas Coleridge for breakfast when he offered me this job. My car had been towed away overnight. I set off to negotiate getting it back, which took hours, and arrived in this awful state to meet the most chic-looking managing director.

At home, what do you tune in to?

I listen to Radio 4 on the way home. At home I sit down with my daughter and listen to whatever CDs she puts on – LCD Soundsystem, Beirut or Curtis Mayfield, Fats Waller and anything Motown.

What is your Sunday paper? And do you have a favourite magazine?

The Independent on Sunday and The Sunday Times. I really enjoy Vanity Fair and Vogue, The New Yorker, Time, The Economist; I quite like looking at Forbes too.

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

I'd like to stay youthful enough in spirit always to consider every opportunity that comes along, and to take Condé Nast Traveller even higher than its record-breaking 85,000 ABC.

If you didn't work in the media what would you do?

I'd be a safari guide. Safaris put life in perspective. You are just so humbled by this planet's awesome nature.

Who in the media do you most admire and why?

Jon Snow never gives up and is not heckling with it. He is polite but insistent. I loved working for Max Hastings, and I admire Nicholas Coleridge. And adventurers such as Bruce Parry.

The CV

1979 Work experience at Cosmopolitan before going to university

1983 Begins magazine career as a features assistant then style editor at Cosmopolitan

1985 Moves to Elle as co-ordinating editor for its launch in the UK

1986 Joins "Look" pages at The Sunday Times, Style's precursor. Leaves six years later as deputy editor of the magazine.

1992 Appointed associate features editor then arts editor at The Daily Telegraph, becomingfeatures editor of the Saturday Telegraph magazine in 1995

1997 Moves to Vogue House to launch Condé Nast Traveller