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Why this magazine only reports on news to make you smile

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Stylist Team
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Work/Life is Stylist’s regular column about the professional routines of successful women. Here, Lucy Purdy talks us through her one-day diary, from morning latte to lights out. 

Lucy Purdy, 34, is the editor of Positive News, a quarterly magazine dedicated to constructive journalism. She lives in north London with her boyfriend.

My alarm goes off…

At 7am. The first thing I do is check any emails that have come in overnight over a cup of tea and some toast. Then, I’ll catch up on the BBC News and The Guardian websites. I’ll put on something smart but comfortable, like a bright vintage dress, which I find helps to set the tone for the day. I get the tube to our offices in Victoria at about 8am.

I’m responsible for…

Editing the quarterly magazine Positive News and its website. This involves commissioning and publishing the most inspiring news stories from around the world. I ensure that we’re producing quality, rigorous reporting that is focused on solutions. When so much of the media is doom and gloom, we feel it’s important to focus on what’s going right.

I got the job…

After studying for an NCTJ Diploma in Journalism after doing my BA in English and American Literature at Warwick University. Afterwards, I worked for local papers before taking the leap into freelance, where I wrote for places including The Guardian and New Statesman. I focused on writing about what was important to me, whether that was the environment or social change. When I heard about the position at Positive News, it appealed to me immediately. I was appointed editor in 2016.

Russell Brand was one of last year’s cover stars.

My typical day…

Sees me arrive at the office at 9am. I begin by sifting through any pitches or news stories that feel fresh and inspiring. My challenge is to capture the most compelling, positive change happening around the world. We upload two stories a day to our website, positive.news.

I like to think that we’re mapping out a landscape of positive change. I have a weekly meeting with our team to catch up on where we’re up to in the print schedule. We’re an in-house team of three but we collaborate with a lot of freelancers. I stop for lunch at 1pm – I like to get out and get some air. 

I’ll pick up a salad on my way back. In the afternoons, I’ll do a lot of brainstorming. Often, we’ll take a story that the mainstream media has covered and see how we can report it in a way that is solutions-focused. Closer to publication, I’ll be working with photographers and designers, and the last few weeks get really hectic. I finish at 6pm most nights, but in the run up to press day it can be much later.

The magazine looks at global stories from a different angle.

My most memorable moment…

Was when we exceeded our crowdfunding target, raising £263,000 in 30 days. The publication had existed as a newspaper for 20 years and we wanted to relaunch as a magazine. The support was overwhelming.

The worst part of my job…

Is when I have to say no to really good pitches.

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The best part of my job…

Is getting positive feedback from readers. One told me our magazine felt like an oxygen bottle, because it was a way to stay informed without sinking into despair.

After work…

I run home, which begins with a stretch by the Thames. I try to make dinner from scratch most nights; lately I’m making rainbow pie, which is layered with roasted vegetables that I’ve grown myself. I’ll read a book before bed and try to be asleep by 11pm.

Images: Holly McGlynn

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