AB Thinks  →  8th November 2016

Double act

AB Thinks

Two of our team are among the nominees for the IoIC’s ICon Editor of the Year award, meaning this could be the fourth successive year the title has been won by an AB editor. One of our resident reporters interviewed Duncan Mills and Emma Bennett to learn the secrets of their success.

By Emma Powys Maurice, reporter

What does it feel like to be nominated for the Editor of the Year award?

Duncan:I’m delighted, obviously. It’s always nice to be nominated for these sorts of things, particularly as it‰’s following on from some of the AB editors who we’ve worked with over the years. It reflects really well on the whole company.

Emma: It’s really nice to get the recognition. We all work very hard at AB, so it makes it worthwhile to see that you’re at the top of your game when you’re measured against your peers. Although if either Duncan or I won, we wouldn’t see it as our own award – it’s more about what we get a chance to do as a part of AB.

This award has been won by AB editors three years in a row – why do you think that is?

Emma: I think a lot of it comes down to the fact AB tends to employ people from a journalistic background. As well as being internal comms specialists, we are journalists and writers. We know what a good story is, we know how to tell it well, and we can get those messages across in a way that’s palatable and interesting for the reader.

Duncan: I think part of it is the calibre of publications we produce and the way we work. We take a really strong overview and interest in what we’re editing, and we’re able to pull in everybody’s skills and talents. It’s not just ‘copy-bashing’, which is how some agencies work. There’s such a passion in what we do to bring these stories to life.

What is each other’s best quality as an editor?

Duncan: I think Emma’s always in control of what’s going on with her accounts. She seems pretty good at keeping on top of things. She also has a really good manner with clients and makes an effort to meet them all over the country wherever they might be. They’re always asking to do more work with her and it’s down to that relationship she has with them.

Emma: Thanks Duncs! I’d say that Duncan’s best quality is his endless patience. He keeps very calm under pressure. He often has a lot of conflicting deadlines with clients asking a lot of him at once, and he seems totally unflappable in the face of all that. He‰’s very creative as well, always coming up with lots of different ideas for stories and photoshoots. He never tries to repeat the same thing twice; he keeps things fresh each time.

You’ve both been at AB for nearly four years now. What advice do you wish you could have given to yourself when you first started?

Emma:Don’t panic! I’m such a worrier and I really stress about deadlines, which is a good thing, but in a month’s time I’ll never remember what I was worrying about. So my advice would be to have faith in yourself that you’re doing everything you can, otherwise you’ll just drive yourself insane.

Duncan: Keep an open mind for whatever comes across your desk. One thing I didn’t fully appreciate four years ago was how interesting some of my clients and projects could be. Whatever industry your client‰’s from, there are always interesting stories and people to write about. For example, in the latest issue of Upfront, we found a guy who was in the 1986 Eurovision Song Contest – amazing. You find all these really fascinating things once you start looking. Everybody’s got a story to tell.

The IoIC ICon award winners will be announced on Thursday 10 November.