That Was the Year That Was: Andrea Thompson, commissioning editor, Dumfries & Galloway Life

GOOD year, bad year? With 2014 drawing to a close, we ask Andrea Thompson, commissioning editor of Dumfries & Galloway Life magazine: ‘How had it been for you?’.

Briefly, what is it that you do?

I’m the commissioning editor for Dumfries & Galloway Life, the monthly lifestyle magazine regarded as a Dumfries & Galloway ‘institution’. I look after the day-to-day running and editing of the magazine, working with a small team of staff writers, photographers and designers and organising and commissioning our dedicated ‘family’ of freelancers. I also write a lot of the content, edit DG Business and curate the Dumfries & Galloway Life Facebook page.

Choose three words that sum up 2014 (so far), from a professional point of view.

Challenging. Rewarding. (Ultimately) exhilarating.

In 2013, what was your biggest ambition for 2014, and to what extent did you achieve it?

Ensuring that not only did our existing readers’ love affair with Dumfries & Galloway life continue following its redesign in August 2013, but that the new look helped to bring a new army of readers.

Developing brand awareness through increasing use of Facebook has certainly helped (my ambition was to reach 3,000 followers by Christmas; we’re at 3,025 as at December 15), as has the partnership with Dumfries community radio station, Alive 107.3, with the spin-off Friday Magazine Show, which has brought Dumfries & Galloway Life to the attention of people all over the world.

The ongoing success of the (now award-winning) Life on the Land specialist publications; two issues of DG Business in 2014; the sell-out success of our fifth annual Dumfries & Galloway Life People of the Year Awards, and continuing media partnerships with events/organisations at the heart of Dumfries & Galloway (Big Burns Supper Festival, Spring Fling, Wigtown Book Festival and Dumfries & Galloway Business Awards) are other examples of ambitions achieved this year.

How has 2014 (so far) been for you, personally?

Busier than ever… it certainly feels like this has been one of the fastest years I’ve experienced (apparently, it’s Christmas next week?) and I’m looking forward to a little ‘down’ time  to take stock of everything I’ve managed to pack in.

Winning Consumer Magazine Editor of the Year at the Scottish Magazine Awards in Glasgow last week also means that 2014 has to be one of my most rewarding years. It’s still sinking in.

Any changes this year in technology, legislation, the economy, etc. that have had a relatively significant impact on the business?

Thus far, changes in technology haven’t really impacted on Dumfries & Galloway Life (to misquote Ikea’s ‘The Power of the Book Book’, the magazine comes fully charged, pages are always fully uploaded and there’s no lag moving forward and back, it’s easy to share etc.)… but, we are looking forward to adding a digital offering to our readers and advertisers next year and ways of delivering enhanced content.

What are you looking forward to, in 2015 – personally and professionally?

Professionally: If I stick to my own adage, ‘You’re only as good as your last magazine’, then I’m looking forward to working hard to continue to impress, inspire, inform and entertain our readers, to build the brand, hold up a mirror to all that’s good about the region and fly the flag for Dumfries & Galloway all over the world…

Personally: On the ‘hobbies’ front – developing my broadcasting work with Alive 107.3, getting some more great acting roles (I’ve been in five productions with The Theatre Royal’s Guild of Players  in the last two years), and maybe even trying a spot off stand-up.