Magazine aims to stay in front

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 24 October, 1995, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 24 October, 1995, 12:00am

DESCRIBING the magazine as 'a living thing that is constantly evolving', Susan Sams, editor of the Sunday Morning Post Magazine, said changes were in order as the publication entered its third year.

Sams said the response to the magazine from the public and advertisers had been excellent. But changes were needed to stay at the cutting edge.

'We don't want to stay in the same place. We want to keep it moving, developing and trying to improve the product,' Sams said.

'What we're looking at now is trying to inject more personality into it - make it more people-oriented, consumer-oriented, more approachable.

'We're working on a redesign - they'll be some new material coming in.

'We will introduce some new columns that we think will have people talking around town - it's a people magazine. What we strive to do is get something for everybody.' The magazine will receive a wealth of experience from new SCMP editor Jonathan Fenby who will work the editorial team in the development of the publication.

A former editor of The Observer in London, Mr Fenby had been involved in the launch of a similar publication in Britain.

'Jonathan has been very encouraging because he has come from The Observer where he launched Life magazine and it's a great supplement,' Sams said.

'Because he's gone through all of that, he has a real understanding. He is as keen as we are to get the magazine on the right track.

'We've been doing this for two years and, if you go back to the original magazine, it has changed so much it's barely recognisable.' Sams said she sees the magazine as a sidekick to the more serious side of the newspaper, the section that wants to have a laugh, an alternative to the doom and gloom of the news.

'We're the section of the paper that has the attitude - that is, the sort of of smart-style journalism.

'We're looking at lifestyles. We very much want to make people laugh and entertain them - we want to provoke a response from them. Our attitude for the magazine is never make it predictable.' Sams said there is no formula for the magazine but the format the staff was developing would provide a balance between international features with local material on personalities, society, fashion, news features and such extremely popular columns as 'Snaparazzi' and 'Icons of Our Time'.

' 'Snaparazzi' may bore the pants off of some people but others love it. Advertisers love it and its amazing the amount of people who turn to that page as soon as they get the paper to see who's in it,' Sams said.

' 'Icons of Our Time' is one of our most popular columns and we get so much feedback on it. It's something we've had since the magazine was launched.

'We've been accused of being racist and of stereotyping people but when people find out you work for the Sunday Morning Post Magazine, they all want to know who is the Iconographer because it is a great column.' Sams said the bulk of her staff had worked closely together for four years. The continuity had helped the magazine's success.

'I believe that, to carry it off, we have to have fun doing it and we always have - we're a very close-knit team.

'We hope that carries through to the reader.'