Cupcakes from Jamie T and a trip to Abbey Road: A day in the life of NME’s digital editor

Facebook Live sessions at festivals and free Jamie T cupcakes. Life for Charlotte Gunn, NME’s digital editor, is not without its perks.

It’s been one year since the Time Inc. music title made the decision to become a free weekly magazine. Gunn was brought onboard in November to build digital reach on social and its own platform. Like a lot of publishers, this means upping the video content. “Around half my time is spent working on our video strategy,” Gunn said. “It’s a huge growth priority for us, and Facebook Live is such an exciting and nerve-wracking format.”

Digiday caught up with Gunn who explained an average day in her life.

6:30 a.m.: Alarm goes off. Alarm gets snoozed. Alarm goes off again, and I’m up. First thing I do is check the news on my phone to see what’s happened overnight in the world of music and send priorities to our first news shifter who starts at 7 a.m.

7:30 a.m.: My morning mantra is simply “get out the door as quickly as possible,” which usually results in wildly untamed hair and an empty stomach. Breakfast is a coffee on the way to work — soy cappuccino — as a reward for surviving the crush of the early-morning Northern line.

8:00 a.m.: On the Tube, I check and respond to emails, listen to any significant new tracks that have dropped overnight and start working up editorial ideas for the day ahead.

8:30 a.m.: I’m at my desk, fleshing out the news schedule ahead of the arrival of the second news reporter at 9. I analyze the previous day’s stats and pull out highlights and themes to inform the full team about in our morning meeting. Today, the main news is that John Lennon’s killer has been denied bail again, and police have been staking out Chris Brown’s LA home. 

9:30 a.m.: Depending on hunger levels, I make a quick dash upstairs to the canteen. They sell hash browns, which is a dangerous thing to have in the workplace. Today, I just grab some scrambled eggs on toast, then it’s back to monitoring competitor trends and deciding what the most important things in the NME universe are today.

10:00 a.m.: The wider team arrives for work, and the stereo goes on. This is when we play the album previews and new music we’ve been sent. Today, we’re listening to the new Kings of Leon album, “Walls.”

10:30 a.m.: The team gathers together to pitch ideas for the day ahead. Opinion pieces, videos, interviews, galleries: Anything goes, providing it has a killer headline. I run the team through the previous day’s stats to help focus the ideas. Then, along with our commissioning editor, Dan Stubbs, decide the day’s content priorities. First up is an an opinion piece about TV show “Later… With Jools Holland,” which has just released its new line-up. We also discus a fun theory that’s going viral that says the graffiti artist Banksy is actually 3D from Massive Attack. Our readers are going mad for the Netflix original “Stranger Things,” so we’re looking for interesting stories around that too. 

11:00 a.m.: It’s into a meeting to talk about our new food franchise, Eats & Beats. Food content tested really well with our audience. Eats & Beats is the space where music and food collide – it can be anything from a band’s favorite dish to a new street food event. In one session, we talk to a vegan chef in London about how to make grime MC JME’s favorite dish. Today, we’re talking about how we can bring it to life through video.

11:45 a.m.: I head down to our basement studio for a video session. We have the very cool Tegan and Sara in to perform acoustic versions of their recent single, “Boyfriend,” and “Stop Desire.” We chat about Brexit, festivals and the perils of snoozing your alarm (note to self: must stop doing that), and we shoot some great, exclusive video content. They’re total pros.

Tegan and Sara’s acoustic basement session for NME.

12:30 p.m.: A check on traffic and a look through some emails opens up an opportunity for a Snapchat takeover with indie pop band Blossoms. We launched on Snapchat at the end of 2015, and we’ve built up a solid following. Lots of bands have been really keen to do takeovers with us, which provides a great insight into their world and access for fans that nobody else is getting. As a brand targeting millennials, Snapchat is a priority social channel for us.

1:00 p.m.: Time to grab lunch. NME Towers is right on the river, so it’s nice to sit on the grass outside the Tate Modern at lunchtime and get a bit of sun.

1:30 p.m.: Back to my desk to plan our next Facebook Live session. The last one was on-site at Reading Festival. We worked with some local university students over the weekend and their interview with The Wombats reached over 200,000 people in an hour. Our audience loves it because it breaks down the wall between artist and fan and lets them interact directly with their heroes. They feel like they’re part of the conversation.

2:30 p.m.: Some Jamie T cupcakes arrive as a thank-you. We ran a cover and video shoot with him recently. The team pounces, and they’re quickly devoured.

3:15 p.m.: I head out with our sales team to a client meeting. We’re collaborating on an exciting project that launches later this month. Rather than head to the client’s offices, this time it’s at the iconic Abbey Road Studio. We swap ideas while strolling through Studio One. At one point, my colleague stops to play the piano like so many greats before him. It’s in these rare — and slightly surreal — moments that I feel very lucky.

5:00 p.m.: We jump in a cab, and I’m back at my desk to set the evening news agenda and check in with the core team. They’ve been out and about interviewing singer Ian Hunter, singer Lady Leshurr and Jesus from The Walking Dead today – along with producing over 40 pieces of content. I get the lowdown on what went down and chat with a couple of them about content plans for the awards ceremony they’re off to cover that evening.

7:00 p.m.: It’s time to pack up for the day. A usual weeknight is drinks, a gig or dinner with mates, but tonight I’m off home. Festival season has taken its toll. I’m in sleep catch-up mode.

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