Stephanie Cooper


The first issue goes on sale today. It was hugely rewarding to see the magazine in the local newsagents on my way to the office and more than made up for all the late nights.

Much of today is spent doing phone interviews with local radio stations across the UK, based on a recent survey we ran on the Radio Times website to find the favourite books and films that cross the generations. Mary Poppins was chosen as the favourite film and The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe as the most popular book.

It’s really captured people’s interest.

Yesterday I was on Radio Leeds’s lunchtime talk show and my dad (who lives in Leeds) called the radio station and came on air, too. My office window is about 100 metres from a railway line with commuter trains and Eurostar passing every few minutes. Radio listeners may have heard train rumbles and phenomenally loud hoots as I spoke.

I have a late-afternoon interview with Louis Sachar, author of Holes.

Louis is such a quietly spoken man that the tape barely picks up his voice – and the trains don’t help! At 5.30pm, I celebrate the launch with the editorial and advertising teams over a bottle of champagne.

Managing director Pam Janson-Smith and ad manager Natalie Belgrave were rushed off their feet with advertisers keen to be in the first issue, going 150 per cent over budget and having to turn people away from the classifieds.

A cause for much celebration, although not for poor Jean Marshall, the copy manager, who developed a few grey hairs chasing the ads.


We’re expanding the creative team and appoint the assistant designer today. We can’t wait for her to start – the more people, the better, and we’ve got a fantastic team on board.

Features editor Susannah Pearce and art editor Sara Ramsbottom have a fashion shoot at Southwold, Suffolk, on Sunday for the second issue.

Susannah has been calling in fashion products from all the best shops so the office looks like an Aladdin’s cave for little people.


Saturday but not a day off – I’m writing up the Louis Sachar interview today and realise I need to ask him a few more questions so I e-mail them to him.

As I’m moving house in a few weeks’ time, removal firms come round throughout the day to quote. I can’t believe I’m planning a house move just four months after starting this job.


Finish the Sachar piece today, then out to Wimbledon village for coffee with friends, who have learned to ignore my incessant scribblings in a notebook.

Seeing and hearing parents interact with their children is invaluable in helping us to get the magazine absolutely right and make it a relevant and real addition to their lives.


It’s hot again this week and our office is like a furnace. The server is in the corner and generates a huge amount of heat. With that and all the other equipment, the temperature soars by mid-afternoon. I pop out in the early afternoon to grab a coffee, then back for a working lunch.


Great morning meeting with Patricia Chambers and Kate Vahl, editor and producer of the BBC Parenting website, at their office in White City. Then I return to our office in Brixton for an interview with BBC Radio Wiltshire before lunch (with the sound of the trains rolling past).

Sara and I have an animated afternoon discussing the features for the second issue. We get over-excited when we’re talking about the pages, but it’s great that even though we’re incredibly tired we’re still enthusiastic.

Being creative is the part of the job I really enjoy. Leave the office at 9.30pm.


Morning meeting with our printers, who have come down from Yorkshire for the day, and the production team from BBC Worldwide to review the first issue. BBC Parenting is the first BBC magazine to use Adobe InDesign and to send the pages straight to the printers without using a repro house. We talk about ways we can improve future issues.

The feedback we’ve had about the magazine in the past few days from advertisers, PR companies and readers’ letters has been fantastic. One of the letters we received today is from a mum who says she thinks we’ve got the mix just right and we’ve identified our market well. It’s a great starting point.

Lunch with Annabel Karmel, a leading author on children’s food, at Pescatori, a lovely Italian restaurant near Green Park. Annabel writes the food column for Parenting. I love her recipes; they look and sound amazing on the page. Annabel is delighted with the first issue and she’s full of ideas for future food columns.

Return to the office to a stack of e-mails, including one from a representative at the charity Parentline Plus, who thinks the first issue is excellent.

Work like crazy for the rest of the day on issue two and go home at 9pm. Just before I started this job, Greg Neale, editor of BBC History Magazine, told me there would never be enough hours in the day to edit a launch.

He’s absolutely right. My team and I can confirm that while train timetables may not run like clockwork, they trundle past the office well into the night.

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