Friday, 27 November 2009

In the Editor's Chair - Annika Allen

Welcome to In the Editor's Chair where I feature editors from niche and underground magazines. At the tender age of 27, Annika Allen has certainly packed an awful lot into her career. She has written for Street Cred magazine, Positive People magazine, Pride magazine, The Voice and New Nation. She also had her own show on a community radio station back in her home town of Birmingham and has worked as a runner for the legendary daytime TV hosts, Richard and Judy. Annika is the CEO and Editor of Flavour magazine which is an entertainment and creative arts publication. Flavour was born in 2006 and since then it has established itself as a voice in urban entertainment. The publication which has has had the likes of Ashley Walters, Jamelia and Alexandra Burke on the cover recently picked up the prize for Magazine of the year at the BEFFTA Awards. They celebrate their third anniversary this month by producing a special double issue with JLS on the front and Cherri V on the back. There are also interviews with Mr Hudson, Reggie Yates, Pixie Lott, Tinchy Stryder and N-Dubz. There is also a great feature called 15 people you should follow on Twitter. I caught up with Annika to find out what life is like as glamorous editor for a hip magazine. 

How did you get into journalism?
I’ve been writing since I was a child. At 8 I joined CBBC’s Press Pack club and never looked back. I’ve been writing ever since for local magazines and newspapers in my home town Birmingham and then I moved to London to study journalism at London College of Communication and the rest as they say is history. 

Describe the concept of Flavour magazine.
Flavour Magazine is a youth lifestyle publication and website for the young, ambitious and cool. Flavour’s aim is to inspire and empower its readers. After all there’s enough negativity in the world so why add to it. We love to showcase creative talent as we feel photographers, fashion designers; artists etc need a platform for this. Plus we are categorised by our exclusive stunning photography. All our covers have been exclusively shot for Flavour Magazine and this is something that we are very proud of. 

Who is behind Flavour?
Flavour is run by my wonderful business partner Leonard Foster and I. Flavour is run and published independently by us and for you.    

Describe a day in the life of Annika Allen.
There is no such thing as a typical day in my life, which is what I love about it. One day I could be sitting at my desk all day answering emails, editing copy for the website or the print edition and talking with PRs on the phone. Then next I could be putting on a fabulous dress to strut down a red carpet at a premiere or interviewing Outkast or Mariah Carey. For the last few month’s I’ve been organising our annual model competition Miss Flavour 2009 which was held at Cafe de Paris.   

Which blogs do you check out regularly? - Matilda or Matty as I call her is my girl from back in the day. We used to go to a writing club called Smoke Free Birmingham where we used to produce a magazine. We were 13-15 years-old at the time. She’s very opinionated and an amazing writer. - another friend of mine whose fly and fabulous and on a journey to work in NY.
Bossip – Who can resist celebrity gossip. I know I can’t.
Global Grind – Everything you want on music, fashion, celebrities and world news all in one place. If I’m not looking at Flavour Magazine, The BBC or All Hip Hop I’m on this website.   

What magazines do you read? 
Well I love reading Flavour of course, I’m very proud of my work but of course I read other publications. I read Pride Magazine, Glamour, Vibe Magazine (which will be returning in December after closing) and my guilty pleasure is soap magazines like Soap Life, All About Soap etc.  

What tips do you have for anyone who wants to become a magazine editor?
Get writing, start your blog, get work experience at magazines, write articles for free if you’re just starting out so that you can build up your name and get your by-line in print and network like crazy to build up your contacts.  

The new issue of Flavour is out today, check out the website here.

You can follow Annika on Twiiter here.

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