My name is Ben and I’m a publisher…
I’ve been working at Raconteur for 2 years now, part of a lively and interesting special reports division - the proverbial ‘Engine Room’ of Raconteur. Life at the coal face is challenging and rewarding in equal measures - rarely straightforward and never dull, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.
I came to Raconteur from a digital publishing background - I’d given my recruiter strict instructions to only send me job opportunities that were a bit special, none of the usual stuff. I was pleased to see a couple of missed calls and a text in my inbox from him - ‘Mate, I’ve got the one, give me a call now’ (Recruiters, eh!?) It’s fair to say he didn’t disappoint - sat in the final interview a couple of weeks later they had me hook line and sinker, I was drawn to the energy, enthusiasm and passion that everyone I’d met shared for the business, the cool office I’d visited and the opportunity they were giving me to join a company on the up, with young management and genuine opportunities for taking on responsibility and progressing professionally. 2 years later and I’m glad I made the choice to join - the office may have changed, but my reasons for joining are still just as relevant.
So what does a publisher actually do at Raconteur? This was the first question on my mind, and when launched quickly into the training the full scope of the role was revealed. A publishing manager is responsible for the overall delivery of one of Raconteur’s special reports. 17 publishing managers and the wider business working to publish over 80 reports a year in The Times and the Sunday Times. As the Publishing Manager, we’re ultimately responsible for the commercial and editorial success of our publication - we are the sales team, project manager and editor all rolled into one, so there’s a fair bit to get through. My day might be spent meeting potential clients, working with events and associations to promote our reports, commissioning journalists to submit articles or working with our amazing design team on the reports aesthetics. The report process is hectic, but it always feels good to see the report come to life and nothing beats seeing your name in The Times on print day (just ask my mum).
Over the last couple of years I’ve had the chance to work with some brilliant brands and journalists and develop a lot of different skills, the personal highlights for me have been in being able to launch brand new titles for the division and making them commercially successful - it feels a bit like running your own business (something I aspire to do one day) as you effectively begin something in a totally new area, you act as ‘founder’ of your title and get to pitch it into the management. If you can build a strong enough business case then off you go - market the report, sell the partnerships and prove to yourself and the team that your chosen angle was a good call! I’ve launched titles on PropTech and the Maritime Economy and developed a Sales title - areas that I’ve got to know and understand better over the years as a result of publishing titles on them, leaving me with new interests and great network in these communities that I’m sure will stand me in good stead throughout my career.
A year or so as a Publishing Manager took me to my current role as a Lead Publisher - essentially a more senior publishing manager, with the chance to work more with the wider business and help out with the wider team, helping with managing, on-boarding/recruitment and training the junior publishers. Working as a lead pub gives me a chance to learn and feedback regularly - we’ve got very open lines of communication here and not a lot of separation between senior management and the rest of us...any suggestions or ideas I have are always listened to, it’s something that I value a lot and I think is really important to our culture here.
I work on a team of 6 within a wider 18 or so strong Special Reports Division. We’ve got a fun team, always up for a game of ping-pong, a love island gossip or a swift one in the pub after work - it’s refreshing getting to work with people every day that you’re happy to spend your evenings with...enjoying the environment is as important for me as enjoying the work you do and it’s something that’s been consistent for my whole time here. Each quarter we do a division night out to celebrate the previous quarter and spend some time together (on the company of course), we’ve had karaoke, bowling, rounders, boozy bingo, a trip to the driving range and some others in recent times - up next is a curry night on brick lane, kormas all round?
A week at Raconteur is never dull, this week I’ll be working on a couple of different projects and reports, generating business and content themes for these, doing some fundraising for our charity football tournament with the Raconteur Raiders, meeting an association for a partner dinner and sitting down for various bits of training, an inclusion talk and a few other bits dotted in-between, but first, Raconteur Wine Club with the gang, this time its our resident sommelier Lynnsay's ‘All Time Favourite Wines’….Cheers to that!