Students record live Bang to Rights with Claire Sanderson, editor-in-chief of Women’s Health

  • Journalism students question Editor-in-Chief over everything from breaking into the industry, equal pay, mental health and print/online strategies
  • Claire reveals new strategy for increasing diversity at Hearst

Claire Sanderson, Editor-in-Chief, of Women’s Health Magazine spoke to first and final year MMU Multimedia Journalism students on Tuesday 4 February. Claire’s Twitter bio refers to the ‘valley girl, done good’ which alludes to her working-class South Wales background. 

Claire capitalised on her authenticity throughout her career that started with Trinity Mirror through to her senior role at Hearst Group via Look, Grazia and The Sun. 

Students appreciated her insights on breaking into the industry, equal pay, mental health and print/online strategies that have made Women’s Health so successful. 

Digital leads to print

Sam Lawrenson, first year MMJ student, added:  Claire’s talk was insightful and inspiring as she covered a range of serious matters such including mental health.

“However, one aspect of Claire’s talk that surprised me was her stance on print. Claire explained that one of her key roles was revenue diversification but was confident that print sales and subscriptions still lead the way for Women’s Health’s financial future. 

“This shocked me as the industry seemed to be nearly all digital and appeared to benefit from platforms such as Instagram to share content such as workouts.”

Women’s Health has a strong social media presence that draws together YouTube, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook that, along with live events, supports the print edition. 

The multiplatform approach is backed by an ethos centred on increasing women’s confidence and power which is evidenced by the strong publishing campaign – Project Body Love:

Going live

The second part of the session featured recording MMU Journalism’s Bang to Rights podcast.

A panel of students led the way for a lively Q&A with Claire that ended on an incisive question from Leighton Currie, a first-year student, about racial diversity in journalism. 

Claire responded that “the problem we face is that we do not get enough diverse applicants applying for the jobs and that needs to change, but I can’t give jobs to people who don’t apply for them.

“Things need to be put in place to encourage people from more diverse backgrounds – including race, gender and socio-economic backgrounds – and this is the big battle, the big challenge that the media faces. 

“That’s something that Hearst are doing now; they’re trying to recruit from more diverse backgrounds.”

Details of the news four-week internship opportunities will shortly be revealed by Hearst. Judging from the queue of highly engaged and diverse MMJ students waiting to speak with Claire afterwards, Women’s Health won’t be short of applicants. 

You can listen to the Bang to Rights podcast now at The Northern Quota Soundcloud.