Media, Darling: Beth Thompson

Beth Thompson’s resume is three decades long; it was born in newspapers, cut its teeth in magazines and has grown into digital. Over the course of 20-plus years, she has written and edited articles for, by and about Canadians. A communicator who thinks in words and pictures, Thompson lives for the exchange of ideas and believes they are the cornerstone of happiness.
Thompson is the current beauty editor at More magazine. Previously, she has been the editor-in-chief of Glow, Spree and Healthy Woman Magazine, and has freelanced for Chatelaine, Canadian Living, Lavalife and Today’s Parent. She’s also the co-author of Kidfluence: Why Kids Today Mean Business.

Twitter: @morebeth

Did you always want to be in the media? If not, what other careers were on the horizon?
I only ever wanted to write… I wrote my first novel at age 11 titled Mystery in the Mountains. Still unpublished – haha.

Where would you like to be five years from now?
Right where I am. I’ve spent 20 years looking for the balance I’ve recently found. I don’t want to lose that.

Any advice for people getting started in your industry?
Take all jobs related to your field. It’s a sad but true fact that in the early days experience trumps talent.

What are your favourite media outlets, not including your own? (i.e.: what do you read/listen/watch?)
I love anything indie – the true spirit of artistry always comes through and its raw honesty can rock your world.

Best interview you’ve ever had? Worst?
BEST: I had five minutes with Princess Diana and it changed my life.
WORST: I’d been trying for weeks to get an interview with a doctor who refused to speak to the media. Then, out of the blue, he called me. Problem was, I was at home with a sick toddler who was literally vomiting in my arms. Still, I went for it. When I played back the tape all I could hear was my son puking. The joys of working from home!

Best advice you’ve ever been given?
Be yourself – no exceptions.

What rule(s) do you live your life by?
Be yourself – no exceptions.

What’s the most important tip you can give PR pros?
Understand the worlds you’re asking to be a part of.

Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about #wins.
Reps who put themselves at your disposal so that you can excel – and then do that for every single person in the room. A true pro.

I hate?
PR reps who call and call and call and call and call…

I love?
Anyone who gets nuance.

My own novel (currently in revisions).

Best place on earth?
My dining room table.

Dinner guest?
Coco Chanel.

My mother. Gone too soon, but larger than life, still.

Favourite app (or whatever you are downloading these days)?
Epicurious. Inspiring recipes and easy grocery lists for holiday planning.

Pool or ocean?

Voicemail or email?
Both. Love to hear from anyone, any time.

Media, Darling: Linda Lewis

Since 2006, Linda Lewis has been at the helm of Canada’s magazine dedicated to celebrating women over 40. More dares to portray women in midlife with candour and confidence. Launched in Canada in March 2007, More has been nominated 17 times at the National Magazine Awards. 

After receiving a master’s degree in magazine journalism, Lewis began her career as a freelance writer for publications such as Toronto Life, Saturday Night, Chatelaine and Canadian Business. She went on to work as executive editor of enRoute magazine and, in 1998, was appointed editor-in-chief of Today’s Parent.

An active volunteer, Lewis is a board member of the National Magazine Awards Foundation and co-founder of the Cervical Cancer Research Fund at the Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation. Last, but certainly not least, Lewis is the mother of two teenagers.

Twitter: @More_ca

How can someone grab your attention with a pitch?
Clear, concise and occasionally clever writing helps (the fewer exclamation marks the better). But first — read, read and read More some more. The more you understand our magazine, the more you’ll be able to see what makes sense for our audience (smart, accomplished women in their 40s and 50s), and hone the pitch appropriately.

What do you find useful when dealing with public relations professionals?

A sense of humour (just kidding!).

What is the biggest mistake PR professionals make?

Imagine a butcher pitching his wares to a vegetarian restaurant. That happens in this business all the time when PR peeps don’t customize their sale. Latest example? Yesterday, I got a pitch for a cowl-necked nursing sweater. Yes, women over 40 do have babies, but I don’t see More as the target market for that product. We also get pitched on items that aren’t even available in Canada!

My pet peeve

PR peeps who act like they’re in the secret service. I get the need to protect celebs, wear headsets, etc., but it can be over the top in Toronto.

Any other thoughts you’d like to add?

My 16-year-old daughter is contemplating going into PR. I have taken her to a few events so she has seen the business in action. Let me know if she’s crazy.   🙂