North's Big Issue changes editor, cover and press day

The Big Issue in the North has appointed a new editor and added a dating section as part of a major redesign.

Deputy editor Ato Erzan-Essien has been promoted to editor, in place of Kate Markey, who has moved up to become executive director of the magazine’s parent company, The Big Life Company.

The move coincides with design changes to the front page, which has more coverlines, and the introduction of a dating section called Northern Soul.

As of last week, The Big Issue in the North will also be published every Monday instead of Saturday.

Commenting on the cover, Erzan-Essien said: “We have had an image-led cover for a number of years and the most important aspect was to make sure we had a striking image. If you have a vendor outside a train station and thousands of commuters going past, the way to grab their attention is to hold the cover up. So we have introduced a lot more coverlines and a more striking masthead detailing what is in the magazine.”

Erzan-Essien said the revamp was the culmination of ongoing changes over the past year, including the introduction of news and lifestyle columnists and the reintroduction of a cartoon.

He is also hoping to improve communication with the vendors and the title will launch a provendor media campaign between now and Christmas. “I am keen to try to develop the relationship the editorial has with the vendors and give them a greater and better sense of ownership. We want them to have a real sense of pride in the magazine,” he told Press Gazette.

In a move designed to boost advertising potential, The Big Issue in the North has struck a deal with publishing agency Publicis Blueprint, which will now take control of generating ad revenue.

Erzan-Essien joined the magazine two years ago from the Bolton Evening News, having previously worked on the Bury Times and the Lancashire Evening Post.

Features editor Sean Smith has moved up to take his place as deputy editor.

The Big Issue in the North was set up 11 years ago and sells 47,000 copies every week from 120 destinations across Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield and Manchester. In August this year, it extended its distribution and opened an outlet in Hull.

By Ruth Addicott

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