Annunciata Walton, news and property editor of Country Life, on how the title has changed leading up to its 120th anniversary next year, her ideal story and receiving emails about rap records.
How is the editorial team at Country Life set up?
We all have our own areas of expertise and responsibilities, but we work very collaboratively, too—it’s a fun place to be. Brainstorms in the Country Life office can be raucous, but always illuminating.
Describe your ideal story. Any recent examples?
Important, grabbing, engaging, timely.
How would you describe your relationship with PRs?
Do you find that PRs have a good understanding of the kind of content Country Life covers?
Mostly they do. However, at least twice a month, I receive emails about rap records. No matter how many times I junk them, they always pop up again. I can’t see Country Life featuring hip-hop anytime soon.
How has the magazine changed over the years?
For a magazine that is such an institution—we celebrate our 120th anniversary next year—you’d be surprised at how much we’ve changed!
There are the obvious things, larger print, colour photographs, unforgettable feature covers that are a world away from the printed ad covers of 100 years ago.
In the past few years alone, we’ve launched both a luxury section and, more recently, regular interiors pages. Our photography is both imaginative and innovative. But an ever constant has been excellent quality of writing and a true connection to our readers.
What changes do you predict in the magazine’s future?
Somehow bucking the general consensus that ‘print is dead’, we’re about to celebrate (I hope) our 7th consecutive ABC increase. So this is a magazine that’s here to stay. But online editorial is undoubtedly vital, and I’m sure that Country Life will branch out in many other ways, too—anything’s possible as long as we continue to engage with our audience.
What do you love the most about your job?
Endless variety. I never know what will go on the news page from one week to the next. And I will never tire of dreaming I live in one of the beautiful properties we feature. One day…
Any stand-out moments in your career?
I suppose my first published article—in The Sunday Times Travel Magazine sometime in 2006. I was doing work experience and I’ve still never visited Indonesia, which is where I was writing about (with totally false authority). The piece started with: ‘Who knew volcanoes had a sense of irony?’