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The week after Luxx has been published, I get a handful of pleading emails, asking if I would mind sending out copies in the post, because people have forgotten to buy it.

“I’m so sorry, but I was away for the weekend,” a PR might say. “If you wouldn’t mind getting one of your team to send me a copy I’d be grateful.” Or “I forgot to buy it,” a journalist might write, “so if you could pop one in the post that would be great.” Or, double whammy: “Our hotel was featured – thank you very much. Sadly, our team forgot that it was coming out this weekend and no one bought a paper. Is there any way you might be able to courier one over to us so we could show it to our client this afternoon, and in the meanwhile email us a PDF for our website?”

These people, I suspect, imagine that our office is not unlike the immaculate white box in The Devil Wears Prada, with banks of PAs and couture-clad lackeys swanning about, wheeling racks of eveningwear and ordering us wheatgrass shots.

While we do sit right beside the (incredibly lovely, down to earth) fashion team, who occasionally feed us with glorious fashion intel and fascinating celeb gossip, our workplace is about as glam as the Croydon Tax Office.

Want the full picture?

I sit, like most office workers, on a long row of desks accessorised only with desktop computers – and an occasional vase of dead flowers I keep meaning to chuck.

I don’t have a PA (only the editor of the paper does).

I don’t have an easily accessible supply of magazine-sized envelopes (and the stationary office is the other side of the building, by the post slots where we have to go to collect our own mail).

I don’t have a handy book of PRs’ addresses – and if you don’t send yours to me, I’ll have to hunt through old emails to find it. And if it’s not on your email signoff, then I’ll have to Google it.

If you know that your client is being featured in the magazine I work for, and you don’t take the time to buy one when it comes out, I’m probably not the person you want to admit that to. I’ve just spent four weeks putting it together, and I don’t want to spend another morning filling envelopes and posting precious copies out.

The Times doesn’t allow its journalists to send out PDFs, either – for obvious reasons. We are trying to get people to subscribe to our website, to pay our salaries, rather than to look at it for free on yours.

I’ll get off my high horse now. And gallop off to the stationery cupboard. Yet again.

Post Author

Lisa Grainger has worked for The Times – from the arts and news desks to The Times Magazine and LUXX – since 1995. When she isn’t working as deputy editor of Luxx, Lisa freelances for publications from Departures and Travel + Leisure to The Times, pens a monthly interview with a leading British craftsman for Walpole, and is sustainability editor at Country & Town House. She has won awards for her travel writing on Africa, and is a regular contributor to panels on conservation and luxury travel. Her compilation of African myths and legends, Stories Gogo Told Me, funds schooling for orphaned girls through the CAMFED charity.


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