A weekly Q&A with interesting people in the Australian Media Industry
Kerrie McCallum
  • Name Kerrie McCallum
  • Position Editor in Chief: delicious. & Editorial Director: Sunday Style
  • Interviewed by Social Diary on 17/2/2016
  • Q
    Describe your career path to date?
    A
    I studied journalism at university, got some part time writing at The Sunday Mail in Brisbane but really wanted to work in magazines. I moved down to Sydney for a role at Express Publications, then was hired as a junior subeditor at Elle magazine with Hachette (this was nearly 20 years ago!) I loved it there so much, had some great editors, and moved around in different roles, such as Beauty Editor, Features Editor, Fashion News Reporter and also Elle Cuisine. I moved to New York, and freelanced there for a few years, working for fashion and beauty clients, and writing for many mags back home and in the US. It was a great time, and I earned nothing and learnt a lot (plus a dose of humility!) Then I came home, started editing, so six months as editor at Disney Girl, five years at Shop Til You Drop, four years at Instyle, then moved to News Corp to launch Sunday Style for three years, then took on the Editor-in-Chief role at delicious. as well about 18 months ago.
  • Q
    What do you love about your job?
    A
    That no day is the same and I am given many different jobs to do. I have a lot of fun, so many laughs, surprises, I meet or work with unique or hilarious people (hello Cleo Glyde), and I truly love the editing process. Coming up with an idea, mapping it out, shooting it, styling it, writing it, laying it out - all of that really still excites me! I love print, I love social, I love digital and I love content. I love how they all interconnect and that I keep learning. Plus I love fashion and food and there is a lot of opportunity to indulge both.
  • Q
    And what's not so great?
    A
    Not enough time! There are many challenges - fluctuating markets, smaller staffs, keeping your team on track with you and your company's vision and navigating change. Editing can be isolating, you have to be very strong amongst others that have different agendas and you have to always think, what is the best for this brand? The decisions that you make are not always liked by others, and I have had to get used to that and accept it but always try my best to be fair or honest.

    And, with the titles I work on, none of it is great for my waistline or bank account!
  • Q
    You have written for many renowned titles including Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, Elle and InStyle. What publication has stood out the most for you? Why?
    A
    It's difficult, I guess I have loved and felt proud to have written for them all. It's a privilege. I think Elle stands out because it was my first big job, I was very young and so thrilled to be there, and it was so incredibly exciting and I was very wide-eyed and I even loved working weekends. Ah, young love.
  • Q
    Currently you are Editor-in-Chief at delicious. Magazine and Editorial Director of Sunday Style, how would you say working with these two titles compares? Is it hard to balance the roles?
    A
    It got to be too hard editing both, which is why I moved off Sunday Style into a more senior role to mentor Sarah, the new editor. I knew as we built delicious.com.au (which launched late last year), it was becoming a very big job, and with the enormity of overseeing a site with high traffic targets, that I would never be able to keep doing a weekly magazine as well. There are too many planned projects for delicious and it wasn't fair to either team to not be available. Most importantly though, I have a family and that has to come first.
  • Q
    Describe your typical day?
    A
    No such thing. I have two children, so it is all about them first thing. Then meetings, office, lunch meeting, planning, events, and trying to train and see a friend at some point during the week!
  • Q
    What is the best experience you've had in your career?
    A
    After Kids (AK): I loved shooting my kids for a cover with Marco Pierre White for Sunday Style last year. They interviewed him for the story (because he wasn't really into journalists) and did the research, and it was pretty hilarious and wonderful to see my kids interested and engaged in what I do (and they loved seeing themselves on the cover).
    Before Kids (BK:) I remember a trip to India with The Body Shop for its Fair Trade projects and its founder Anita Roddick many years ago, when she was still alive. For her time, she was very progressive. I had once worked at The Body Shop and already drunk the Kool-Aid. But she really made an impression on me; her energy and spirit and attitude to life was just different to anything I had come across, and she was just good fun and mischievous. Also memorable was the goodwill of the Indian people, and the family we stayed with, who I kept in touch with for a while.
  • Q
    What do great PR people do?
    A
    They help connect you with great or unique stories, people or products. They understand your audience, your position, and treat your needs and your business with respect and don't oversell or undersell something. The more intimately they know the market, the better they are and the more time you have for each other, and they become critical to you. They make working together easy and know intuitively how to help you.
  • Q
    What do bad PRs do...
    A
    They don't respect how important your (and anyone's) time is. They may try to push you around, tell you what to do, or spell your name incorrectly or get the title of your brand wrong, pitch you irrelevant stories for your demographic, or haven't taken the time to understand your audience, your challenges or your role. They don't think an event through. I get it, events are tough to nail, but there is an art to it, to the timing, to the crowd, the setting, to seating the right people together, and very few people do it incredibly well. Those are the events I always try my best to take the time to attend because I feel my presence and time is valued.
  • Q
    How do like to be contacted and when?
    A
    Email. Any exclusives welcome any time.
  • Q
    How has social media altered your job since the days when you started out?
    A
    It didn't exist when I started but is now critical. It drives the majority of referrals to our sites, influences what we do in digital and print, is a unique form of marketing and exposure, and a new opportunity to monetise content, get news, and connect.
  • Q
    Do you enjoy attending industry events, and if so - which are your fave kind?
    A
    Yes, during the day, speed is critical. Long lunches or breakfasts are rarely an option for me (one hour is perfect, but three too much). Beautiful, unique experiences with colleagues and friends are always something I really appreciate. I just got to eat at Noma thanks to Audi with lovely friends and I felt very lucky.
  • Q
    The media landscape is going through a period of dramatic change - where do you see it in 5 years?
    A
    All memes and gifs. Just ask Morgan, my meme editor. Seriously though, I just think flexibility, hard work and resilience is key to navigate change. And having a bit of a laugh while you're at it.
  • Q
    If you weren't a Writer and Editor, what would you be?
    A
    Baker or barista or perfume nose or best-selling author.
  • Q
    Your Instagram/Twitter:
    A
    Insta: @Kerrie_McCallum
    Twitter: @KerrieMcCallum