BY ALANA HOUSE, editor of iVillage Australia.
After drying my tears from Paper Giants 2 on ABC-TV last night, I started reminiscing about my own Mag Wars.
I was working at Cosmopolitan magazine (as deputy to my current boss, Mia Freedman – ah the more things change the more they stay the same) when Nick Chan approached me to be deputy editor of Woman’s Day.
He told me being deputy was safer, less scary than being in the direct line of Kerry Packer’s fire. He sent me to meet the editor, Bob Cameron, who freaked me out with his talk of fax machines under the bed for late-night photo bidding.
I like my sleep, I didn’t fancy late-night photo bidding and fax machines under my bed. So I turned him down.
I was also young and foolish and ridiculously snobbish about weekly magazines. If I was going to make the move – downmarket, as I regarded it – I would be editor, nothing less.
I can’t quite believe my arrogance.
A few years later, I was offered the job as editor Woman’s Day, working with editor-in-chief Phil Barker. But I’d just moved to Singapore, to edit Cleo. So I said no. I’d uprooted my whole life – and my husband’s – and moved to a new country. I couldn’t go back. Not so soon.
About 18 months later, I went to breakfast with the publisher of Woman’s Day – Pat Ingram – the morning after launching Singapore Harper’s Bazaar. She offered me the job again.
I knew I wouldn’t get another chance. This was my last. So I took it.
When the enormity of it sank in, I was completely beside myself. I was going to be editor of Woman’s Day! Nene King had been editor of Woman’s Day.
My grandmother and mother – both lifelong Woman’s Day fans – were giddy too. Who needs a brain surgeon in the family when you have a Woman’s Day editor? Way more cudos at the nursing home.
Fortunately the fax machine only needed to be in my hallway, not under the bed, by the time I walked through the doors at Woman’s Day. Though I’d love to know if Nene really wore a miner’s lamp to check it.