Whelan: art director-turned-editor
Hello! has announced its new editor, the return of an old one and a shake-up of staff in a move described by insiders as going “back to the old school”.
Former art director Ronnie Whelan has been appointed editor and former editor Maggie Koumi has returned as a consultant.
Chief feature writer Susan Rosznyai has been appointed editor-at-large, commissioning editor Linda Newman has become assistant editor (commissioning) and chief sub Ruth Sullivan has moved up to assistant editor (copy and production). Whelan told Press Gazette: “We want to retain the original concept of Hello! Obviously people like myself and Maggie were involved in the early days and know what that concept is.
“Hello! has always had an unusual mixture of news and celebrities. A lot of readers like that mix and I think they have missed that mixture over the past couple of years so we want to try to get some of that back again. We do want to go back a bit to having some more royals but there are a lot of younger royals coming up now who are interesting.”
Whelan said she also hoped to increase the level of news “like we have been covering the war, picture wise. That’s unique to Hello! A lot of our competitors would not be dealing with that side of life,” she added.
Whelan spent 10 years as Hello! art director before leaving shortly after Koumi departed and the arrival of Phil Hall as editor-in-chief. She was working for Asian Art Newspaper before being approached by Hello! proprietor Eduardo Sanchez Junco.
Whelan will take over from former editor Maria Trkulja, who quit after Sanchez announced he wanted more editorial control.
“Eduardo is obviously very hands-on but he is in Spain so we will have to run it as we think fit in London,” Whelan said. “Being the proprietor he sees all the pages that go through. It’s all presented to him and if he feels strongly about something he will telephone us to discuss it. It’s his parents’ concept and he’s carrying it on and I really like that aspect actually. It has been developed in the family and he is very good at it.”
The Marquesa de Varela will also continue to have a key role bringing in exclusives, she said, despite speculation that she had become estranged from the magazine during the court case with the Douglases and rival OK! magazine.
One source added: “Eduardo is running Hello! in a way no other magazine in God’s green earth would be run – it is full of the old school, people who have been there a long time, people who he feels comfortable with.”
By Ruth Addicott