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My time as JAM editor

#25My time as JAM editor

Since JAM — the AMA’s journal of arts marketing — was first published in April 2001 there have been four editors, eight guest editors, two designers and 71 issues covering a wide range of themes on arts marketing, audience development and fundraising.

Helen Bolt, Andrea Perseu and Jacqueline Haxton reflect on their time as editor.

Helen Bolt
Editor, JAM (2003-2008 and 2011-2015)

Reviewing the back issues of JAM on the AMA website reminds me not only of my contribution over the years but of the extraordinary amount of work that went into the production of that back catalogue by the AMA team, passionate and experienced contributors, the designers, printers and the various people who, over the years, stuffed and stamped the envelopes.

I forced myself to read my first JAM entry, before I was editor, my Day in the Life piece from the E-marketing issue back in July 2002. It’s horrific. Like a young teenager’s GCSE homework effort. Don’t read it. Hopefully, during the many years of experience gained working on all aspects of bringing JAM to the AMA membership, I can make a better job of this memoir.

As a ‘completer, finisher’, JAM was an ideal, long-running project for me. Seeing through the whole process from the initial content meetings with AMA Directors across the years; Pam Henderson, Julie Aldridge and latterly Cath Hume, to arranging stuffers and delivering car loads of envelopes and issues to various locations across Cambridge. Or stuffing it myself. Commissioning writers, working creatively with our designers, editing, learning proofreading techniques with our fabulous proofer, and liaising with printers and guest editors. Even now I’m proud to see my name on so many of those including two ‘birthday’ issues from ten and twenty-one years of the AMA and those skills learnt are still used today.

From my first issue as editor in January 2003 — the branding one with the cows on the cover — I loved the creativity of working with the designers on the layout, sourcing images and seeing a few covers use my photography. I grew a network and learnt much about the practicalities of arts marketing, kept up to date with the latest trends and found out about best practice and challenges faced by colleagues in the wider industry.

Here’s to the next 25 years of the AMA keeping arts marketers, fundraisers and their colleagues ahead of the game and bringing in audiences to experience more art and culture.

andreaperseu_photorichardhubertsmith-9561Andrea Perseu
Editor, JAM (2009-2010)

I suspect I got the editorship of JAM because of my previous experience with another magazine called Domina Notizie, a glossy, 36-page quarterly published by what was at the time a biggish Italian hotel group. It was meant to be a sort of Time Out for little alpine villages and out-of-the-way seaside resorts, and I was its sole editor, proof-reader, writer and, sometimes, photographer.

After all that, working on JAM was, needless to say, an absolute joy (not to mention, a relief). For one thing, we had actual contributors — i.e. people other than me — wanting to write for us. I remember being in awe of Heather Maitland, who seemed to have an inexhaustible supply of insights and statistics about whatever topic was being discussed in any one particular issue. Her copy was always spotless, on time and within the recommended word count. I can’t stress enough how rare that is, especially the last part.

A large part of the editor’s job, as I experienced it, was about three things: subbing (i.e. making copy readable, providing headlines and sub-headings for all articles, and fact-checking), proofing (with the help of a wonderful professional proof-reader at Cambridge University Press, who knew all the tricks of the trade) and worrying about what to write in the editor’s column.

Commissioning was never an issue: Julie, the AMA’s Director during my time there, and for many years before and after, was a great help and besides, everyone was keen to be featured. What did take time, and a lot of it, was sending out the printed copies to members. Helen and I did it together, a cover letter and a journal per C4 envelope. It taught me the importance of honing your envelope-stuffing skills in the arts marketing world; I wonder why the AMA never offered a seminar on the subject?

Nearly 10 years after my time at the helm, I still wait impatiently for my fresh copy of JAM to appear on my desk twice a year, and it’s as good a read as it ever was. Huge congratulations to the AMA team, and here’s to the next 25 years!

Jacqueline Haxton
Editor, JAM (2015 to present)

Stepping into Helen’s shoes as JAM editor in 2015 was daunting but also very exciting. Having worked in communications in the voluntary sector in the late 1990s and early 2000s, it was great to return to the challenge of working on a print publication.

Shortly after I became editor, the AMA had a brand refresh and as part of that JAM underwent a redesign. Jake Young, who developed the new brand also became JAM’s new designer and over the past three years the new-look JAM has evolved. Images are an important element of JAM and we’re very lucky to be able to utilise the fantastic pictures and visuals from our members  and to celebrate the diverse range of work the arts, cultural and heritage sector undertakes.

It’s great to enable both AMA members and the wider sector to share their case studies, new ideas and initiatives within the pages of JAM, and to give a voice to all our contributors. Celebrating the AMA’s 25th Birthday has also given us the opportunity to applaud JAM.

Exclusive to AMA Members — discover the latest thinking on audience and donor development in JAM.

Exclusive to AMA Members — discover the latest thinking on audience and donor development in JAM.