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Media Interview with Isabelle Morand, editor in chief of l'Ami des Jardins

Isabelle Morand
Isabelle Morand
With the revamp of l'Ami des Jardisn et de la Maison last week, we have asked editor-in-chief Isabelle Morand to tell us more about her career and the long-lasting relationship between l'Ami des Jardins et its freelance journalists.

About L'Ami des Jardins et de la Maison:

Who reads L’Ami des Jardins and how many readers are there?
Our monthly magazine is aimed at all people with a passion for gardening, whatever the level of their skills. L’Ami is indeed aimed at the beginners as well as expert gardeners and it covers all types of gardens: small ones, big ones, urban or in the countryside. We also take an interest in terraces and balconies.

I would like to highlight the fact that in 2010 we became the leader of monthly press focusing on gardening (DSH 2010: 152,038 issues/month). Our portfolio of subscribers exceeds 100,000.

What subjects do you cover?
Landscaping, flowering, beauty enhancement of gardens. The equipment useful to gardeners.

About PRs:

Do you work closely with PRs (e.g. for supplements, round tables, events) or will you keep them at arm’s length?

Do you have a Features List? Why? Why not?
Yes, of course. We write in-house (texts and pictures), most of our subjects between six and eighteen months in advance. Our production pace is modelled on the seasons. The reports we are making this autumn, for instance, will be published next autumn.

How should a PR approach you about their client?
Above all, they should know about the content of the magazines! Anything off-subject is a waste of time for everybody!

What information/input from PRs is most useful to you?
Information related to the gardening field.

When is the best time for PRs to contact you and what is your deadline for contributions?
As soon as possible, as soon as the information is available. The best deadline: three to four months before the press day (which takes place between the 20th and 25th of each month).

About freelancers:

Do you regularly call freelancers?
Yes, l’Ami works with more than 20 freelancers. They all are gardening experts, they each have a specialty: orchard, kitchen garden, mountain or seaside garden, perennial plants, shrubs, aquatic gardens... Without them, l’Ami wouldn’t be l’Ami.

Do you like freelance journalists to get in touch with you directly to pitch ideas? And if so, how?
Yes, of course. If they fit with our world and can bring something extra to our readers.

If you can, tell us about the best approach you've seen from a freelance…and the worst…
The best relationship is the one that lasts for years and continues even when you leave for another outlet or position. The worst one: finding out that a freelancer you thought was talented turns out to be a mediocre plagiarist...

About you:

What has your career path been until becoming Editor in Chief of this magazine?
Classic literary baccalaureate. Degree from the Institut Pratique de Journalisme. Beginnings in several radio stations including France-Culture/France-Musique bulletins. TV-cinema columnist for the Dépêche de Tahiti. Reporter, then Section Editor for the ‘Leisure’ section in Maxi magazine. Section Editor for the ‘Practical pages’ at Télé Star. Editor in Chief of l’Ami des Jardins since December 2003.

What interests you most about your job?
It’s impossible to choose between managing a team, giving birth every month to a quality magazine and its spin-offs (special issues, co-publishing, supplements...), being able to keep on going on in the field.

What are you projecting/wishing for the future of your publication?
The magazine has just revamped. We have strengthened its practical side, created eight new sections and put up a very elegant lay-out. We obviously wish l’Ami to keep its leadership!

What was your first job?
Off-press: at fourteen and a half years old, I picked up strawberries for a truck farmer in the Val d’Oise area.

In the press: while studying, I was a journalist during weekends at CVS (Canal Versailles Stéréo), a free radio station created by Roland Faure.

Do you Twitter? Why, why not?
No and I don’t feel like it nor need to do it for now.

Dead or alive, who would you love to interview? And why?
Lao-Tseu, the founder of Taoism. Because his maxims and thoughts have the power to make me think... and sometimes laugh out loud. I would like to know the sources of his wisdom.

In a dream world, if you could do any job, what would it be?
Other jobs... Archeologist, coroner, criminologist.