Chris Longridge, 47, has been associate editor at Digital Spy for 5 years. Credit: Chris Longridge

Chris Longridge, 47, is the associate editor at Digital Spy. He talks to Dominic Challis about his experience getting into the world of digital journalism, his best moments at Digital Spy and where he thinks the industry is heading.

Have you always wanted to be a journalist?

Yes, I was passionate about writing and I enjoyed movies and TV shows, so entertainment journalism was the route for me. Five years ago, I was working at Heat Magazine doing TV listings, and a former editor at Heat was now at Digital Spy and invited me to apply for a role. I’m incredibly grateful he had faith in me even though I had no digital journalism experience.

What does being the Deputy Editor at Digital Spy entail?

I’m editorially in charge of the features department and deputising for the editor – making decisions in his absence. I manage the News Editor, Features Team, TV Editor, Movie Editor and Soaps Editor. I sign off invoices, ensure everyone has the correct work to do and being a quality controller for editorial.

What is your typical day-to-day?

First, I’ll go through stats (statistics) from the day before. I’ll need to know what was done well, where the traffics coming from and how it compares to yesterday/last week and last year. Then I’ll be passing up invoices and working on editing features from the team as they come in. Since last July, I’ve been Production Manager for the Digital Spy digital magazine edition for the Apple News+ platform. I make sure that all the copies are flowing properly, if we’ve commissioned enough work for it, if we need more pictures or captions and that sort of thing.

Do you get to write still?

I get to write two articles a month at best. Writing is what got me into this industry and I do miss it. The more senior I’ve got, the less time there is to do anything that anyone else could be doing. You need a level of authority to sign off an invoice, so while I’ll be doing that stuff, all the juniors will be writing.

 

”HE WAS ABLE TO DRAW FROM THAT: THIS COMPREHENSIVE OVERVIEW OF THE BIGGEST SHOW IN OUR HISTORY”

 

What is your favourite and least favourite part of your job?

I love spit balling ideas with the team: every day we have a features meeting where the Features Team pitch their ideas with me, and we workshop them until they’re exactly right. The invoices must be my least favourite to do. You always need to be concentrating: your eyes and brain get tired and there’s no emotional award at the end.

What’s your favourite story or feature you’ve seem from your time at DS?

My boss created an awesome all history of Game of Thrones feature with tons of people from the show. Because Game of Thrones started in 2011, we have an incredible archive of material. He was able to look at pieces and interviews we did throughout the making of Game of Thrones. He was able to draw from that: this comprehensive overview of the biggest show in our history.

 

”I accidentally punched Neil from the Inbetweeners in the eye”

 

What has been your top anecdote?

I was on the set of the first Inbetweeners Movie, specifically the boat party scene. First, I twist my ankle getting onto the boat which was painful for the whole trip. Then, for the sake of the onset, behind the scenes, type of feature I was writing – I had to drink some of their fake puke. At the end, there was a massive picture taken which I was in and I put my arms around everyone, and I accidentally punched Black Harrison (Neil) in the eye. It’s a good thing all the guys from The Inbetweeners are nice.

Where do you think Digital Spy are headed in the next 5 years?

Digital Spy is going from strength to strength of course. We’ve always been extremely responsive to the environment of digital publishing. We want to make sure we’re ahead of whatever trends are coming. As for the trends, I think we’ll see social media evolving somehow. People are finding it to be a toxic space and so it will possibly subdivide or be legislated in ways that changes publishing’s relationship with it.

What about the industry?

More digital, but with more print around than people expect. Although you can get everything quicker online, the experience of reading a magazine is what some people are willing to pay for. Content like big glossy spread sheets, long interviews, and author read pieces work better with print. There will still be a place for those things, at the high end of the market and they’re hanging in there. Whereas the bottom end of the market like the weeklies, are struggling more.