The media career that means business

Niche magazines offer a wealth of opportunity for graduates, writes Richard Cook

The business press has a problem - a problem of presentation. There used to be a section on Have I Got News For You, when the TV team would deconstruct headlines from business press magazines.

Researchers would comb the industry for titles such as Plastics and Rubber Weekly and Small Wars and Insurgencies and expose them to the combined comic efforts of Ian Hislop and Paul Merton. But the business press, now worth more than pounds 1bn a year, is more than capable of looking after itself.

More than a quarter of British adults - a total of 12 million people - have read at least one specialist magazine in the past year. More than 5,000 business or specialist titles are now published in the UK - almost 25 per cent more than a year ago, and the sector is now responsible for twice as much advertising revenue as the more glamorous consumer magazines and, amazingly, for more money overall than the entire poster and radio industries put together.

Yet the sector is often overlooked by graduates determined to make it into the media.

"Business magazines may not seem like the sexiest career choice for a new graduate," agrees Diana Lomax, of Miller Freeman. "It's up to us to change that, and to convince the bright people that we need to attract and keep that they really can make a satisfying career in the business press."

It helps that the industry is now dominated by some of Britain biggest media groups. And Reed Business Information, Emap Business Publishing, VNU Business Publications and the rest are all dedicated to training and improving industry standards, while Miller Freeman, part of United News & Media, produces more than 100 trade publications, organises 50 or so trade exhibitions and employs 1,300-plus people in the UK, the Netherlands and the US.

"What people forget is that there is such a huge range of business magazines," explains Peter Dear, of the Periodical Publishers Association.

"They range all the way from glossy newsstand titles like The Economist and Management Today, to niche magazines such as Tunnels and Tunnelling. What they all offer, though, for people working on them, is the opportunity to build a really high profile quite quickly. Staff can quickly become sought-after experts in their field. Another satisfying thing is that so little of your communication, whether you're working in sales or editorial, is wasted."

Training for the industry is now highly structured and monitored. The Periodical Training Council is a good first port of call for anyone interested in a career in magazines. It has its own magazine guide to getting a job in the industry, and monitors training schemes, accredits university courses and works to improve industry standards.

"Business magazines do offer a tremendous opportunity, precisely because they still tend to be undervalued," points out PTC director Joanne Butcher. "The training offered is excellent. According to our own most recent skills survey, for example, 89 per cent of business press companies offer off- the-job training schemes and 92 per cent run on-the-job schemes."

The PTC typically receives around 100 enquiries a week from job seekers, while the publishers advertise specific vacancies in individual magazines.

"We are really looking for graduates or graduate-calibre applicants," says Lomax, "but we're not as interested in high academic achievement as in evidence that they can work in a team, and have taken the time and trouble to find out a little about the industry."

Typically, new sales staff at Miller Freeman will receive training before being let anywhere near a magazine. They will then usually spend a year or so working in classified sales on a particular title, before graduating either to management of the classified sales team, or into the display team that makes presentations to clients.

That's the stage at which many staff traditionally make a switch into consumer magazine or national newspaper sales. But though that is still a popular option, rates of pay and opportunities for promotion may now be better in the business sector.

"Most of our publishers have worked their way up from the ad sales side on our magazines," says Lomax, "and this is something that we are determined to continue to encourage."

Life and Style
Cooked up: reducing dietary animal fat might not be as healthy as government advice has led millions of people to believe
healthA look at how governments started advising incorrectly on diets
Neil Warnock
football'New' manager for Crystal Palace
REX/Eye Candy
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Roger Federer is greeted by Michael Jordan following his victory over Marinko Matosevic
tennisRoger Federer gets Michael Jordan's applause following tweener shot in win over Marinko Matosevic
peopleJustin Bieber accuses paparazzi of acting 'recklessly' after car crash
Arts and Entertainment
Oppressive atmosphere: the cast of 'Tyrant'
tvIntroducing Tyrant, one of the most hotly anticipated dramas of the year
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Management Accountant

£30-35k + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Management Accoun...

UI Designer / UX Designer

£40 - 60k + Amazing Benefits: Guru Careers: A UI Designer / UX Designer is nee...

SEO Manager / SEO Expert / Head of Search

£30 - 35k: Guru Careers: An SEO Manager / SEO Expert is needed to join an inno...

Business Development Manager / Sales Pro

£30 - 35k + Uncapped Comission (£70k Y1 OTE): Guru Careers: A Business Develop...

Day In a Page

Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?
Rachael Lander interview: From strung out to playing strings

From strung out to playing strings

Award-winning cellist Rachael Lander’s career was almost destroyed by the alcohol she drank to fight stage fright. Now she’s playing with Elbow and Ellie Goulding
The science of saturated fat: A big fat surprise about nutrition?

A big fat surprise about nutrition?

The science linking saturated fats to heart disease and other health issues has never been sound. Nina Teicholz looks at how governments started advising incorrectly on diets
Emmys 2014 review: Can they genuinely compete with the Oscars

Can they genuinely compete with the Oscars?

The recent Emmy Awards are certainly glamorous, but they can't beat their movie cousins
On the road to nowhere: A Routemaster trip to remember

On the road to nowhere

A Routemaster trip to remember
Hotel India: Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace leaves its darker days behind

Hotel India

Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace leaves its darker days behind
10 best pencil cases

Back to school: 10 best pencil cases

Whether it’s their first day at school, uni or a new project, treat the student in your life to some smart stationery
Arsenal vs Besiktas Champions League qualifier: Gunners know battle with Turks is a season-defining fixture

Arsenal know battle with Besiktas is a season-defining fixture

Arsene Wenger admits his below-strength side will have to improve on last week’s show to pass tough test
Pete Jenson: Athletic Bilbao’s locals-only transfer policy shows success does not need to be bought

Pete Jenson: A Different League

Athletic Bilbao’s locals-only transfer policy shows success does not need to be bought
This guitar riff has been voted greatest of all time

The Greatest Guitar Riff of all time

Whole Lotta Votes from Radio 2 listeners
Britain’s superstar ballerina

Britain’s superstar ballerina

Alicia Markova danced... every night of the week and twice on Saturdays
Berlin's Furrie invasion

Berlin's Furrie invasion

2000 fans attended Eurofeurence
‘It was a tidal wave of terror’

‘It was a tidal wave of terror’

Driven to the edge by postpartum psychosis