Guest Lecture: Joe Barnes

“Once you’ve got your foot in the door, make sure you don’t take it out” said Joe Barnes, giving the final guest lecture of the year at University College Falmouth.

Joe, who himself was a graduate of the University in 2003, has moved through two major magazine publications and been at the forefront of their turnaround to become editor of both.

FRONT magazine gave him a job after his work experience there while still at University. He became the editor of the magazine in just two years, which he joked was down to him looking slightly more focused than the rest of his team.

From there, he moved to FHM as editor just under a year ago. He was tasked with turning the concept of the ‘brand’ (rather than the magazine) which he believed was what journalists are now working on, from the perception of it being a ‘lad’s mag’.He described it as being told to “turn an oil tanker around,” referring to the momentum that the brand already had.

The majority of the lecture was how Joe believed that new journalists need a completely different skill set to those journalists hired in the past, and that we are the first truly ‘digital generation’. That should be treated as a huge advantage to the depressing news to follow.

Jobs are declining as students are graduating. Not only that, but those who have been in jobs are keeping them over companies taking risks on up and coming students who don’t have the experience to match. In short, magazines are becoming dated, quickly.

However, he believes the future will be an altogether more positive one, once the ‘free everything on the internet’ model is hurdled, with perhaps an iTunes model for writers currently passed around board meetings.

In short, Joe believes that to succeed, you need to see through ideas from start to finish, and you can’t just write and only write anymore.

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