Alexis Astral – Writing for business

Alexis Taylor Writer, Copywriter, Editor


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My CV – In detail!

Alexis Taylor, BA (Hons), PGC Periodical Journalism

I am a highly skilled and experienced writer and journalist, producing a wide range of copy from marketing brochures to detailed business plans, websites to investment reports.

I have a high level of expertise in most areas of publishing and writing, from commissioning through to managing printing. I am familiar with most publishing technologies and am very computer literate and always learning new skills.

My background includes seven years at Guardian Newspapers, where I ended up as Head of Development. In this role, I managed a creative team of permanent and freelance staff working on projects ranging from creative development, advertising and copywriting, supplement design and editorial, advertising and marketing concepts. Working under the intense pressure of daily and weekly newspaper deadlines, we produced work of a consistently high standard.

For the last 12 years or so, I have worked as a freelance writer and consultant, combining my editorial experience with business and marketing skills to offer a range of services.


Employment History

2002-present — Freelance writer & editor: Alexis Astral

Key Projects:

• Website copywriting, logo design, newsletter writing for businesses in the construction, recruitment and leisure sectors

• Legal copywriting, tender writing and copyediting for City law firms

• Editorial consultancy and advice to magazines both in the UK and overseas

• Travel articles published in the Guardian & the Observer

• Business planning & consultancy for a number of companies, including creating investor-ready business plans

• Research for academic, business and editorial clients

December 1997–February 2001 — Head of Development: The Guardian and The Observer

Responsible for a team of 15 staff plus freelances working on new product development, brand and promotion development, in-house advertising and production of special supplements. My role included writing, commissioning, sub-editing and editing numerous supplements, as well as overall responsibility for all the output of the department.

Key Projects:

• World Cup Stories: seven-part series in the Observer featuring Panini stickers. Responsible for rights negotiation (partly in Italian!), editing, and production of the series;

• World Cup Guide: Management of editorial for the Guardian in print and online and production of World Cup supplement for Observer;

• Joint editor Guardian fashion special; management of further fashion specials;

• The Season: Project manager for the Guardian guides to Premiership football season;

• WorldWise: Writing, editing and project management of VSO campaign supplement on ethical tourism;

• Travel Supplements: Editing and project management of Netherlands Tourism Board supplement; Corsica supplement;

• Kronenbourg1664: Project manager of campaign of supplements and columns.

Other projects:

Festivals guides; Glastonbury Festival promotional material and mini guide; IT in Education series in the Guardian Education section; Office Hours Secretarial recruitment section; Dillons Christmas books; BBC Proms mini guide; Eurostar 98: Belgium; Apple Computers; Project management and copywriting for ad promotions

December 1996 – Managing Editor, Guardian & Observer Development Department

Responsible for managing the output and workflow of the department to ensure deadlines were met and the highest standards maintained.

Key projects:

• Writing and editing New Zealand travel supplement;

• Children’s Book supplements: project management;

• Editor and project management of Co-operative Bank supplement on ethical consumption;

• Joint editor and project management for RSPB supplement on ecology / environmental issues; Amnesty International supplement on refugees; Virago publishing supplement on feminist writing;

• Project management for Cellnet sponsorship campaign including a series of two supplements with ad promotions and columns;

• Space: new product development of weekly design and interiors magazine for London in the Guardian.

• Secondment to Guide section to work on incorporating new listings section into G2 section

Other projects: Alsace supplement for the French Tourist Board; The Rhine supplement for German Tourist Board; Charities Aid Foundation supplement on charitable giving; Environmental issues supplement with World Wide Fund for Nature; project management for the Guardian Fashion special; The Season 1997; Edinburgh Guide 1997; Impact: student magazine; Guardian Festivals guide; editor and project manager: Alliance and Leicester mortgages; M&S / Woolmark; Going for Green; Swatch watches; Boots make-up; BT Intranet

August 1995 – Subeditor, Guardian & Observer Product Development Unit

Key projects:

• Editor of Dillons book supplement

• Project manager of Becks strategic campaign.

• Project manager Impact student magazines

• Project manager of Culture Shop books/music/video catalogue series

• New product development: Jobs and Money Saturday Guardian finance section; Mail and Guardian (Johannesburg) listings section design

• Editor and project manager Guardian Olympics Guide; Observer Olympics supplement; Uefa 1996 Guardian supplement; Children’s Books special; Edinburgh Festival Guide 1996; Hong Kong finance supplement

• Process support for New Media Lab

• alt.culture UK — copy management for book and supplement series in Observer

January 1995 — Wired: Copy editor

Copy editing and editorial process management for producing monthly internet magazine while under GMG joint ownership.

May–December 1994 — Freelance journalist / subeditor

Publications including The Independent, The Guardian, Big Issue, Building Design, Attitude, Diva, Gay Times.

April–July 1994 — PGC Periodical Journalism, London College of Printing


Other Employment

Jan 93 – Feb 94 PA to Deputy General Secretary National Union of Teachers

Oct – Dec 92 Editorial Assistant, British Institute of Psychoanalysis

April – Oct 92 Travel through USA

Nov 90 – April 92 Public Relations Co-ordinator, Rape Crisis, New Zealand

June – Nov 90 Trade Union Health & Safety Centre, Auckland, NZ

Feb 89 – June 90 Office Manager, Nurses Union, Auckland, New Zealand

June 88 – Jan 89 Assistant, Whitecliffe Art School, Auckland, New Zealand

Jan 86 – Nov 87 Pakeha Women Against Racism, Dunedin, New Zealand

Jan 85 – Nov 87 Rape Crisis, Dunedin and Nelson, New Zealand


Employment-related skills

• Project and staff management
• Editing, from concept through commissioning and final sign-off
• Writing and interviewing
• Sub-editing

• Layout using Quark Xpress, InDesign, QPS, Pagemaker
• Production, from repro to print stage
• Logo design using Photoshop & Illustrator
• Art direction including casting of models, stylists, photographers for advertising shoots

• html coding and editing
• Page design using Dreamweaver
• Static and animated ads using Photoshop and Flash


Education History

2011 BA (Hons) English Literature, Open University

1994 PGC in Periodical Journalism, London College of Printing – Graduated top of class

1986 Bachelor of Arts (English/History) all A grades Otago University, NZ



• 1998 Media Week Gold Award, Strategic Sales Pitch of the Year for the Kronenbourg 1664 campaign conceived and produced by the Development Department

• 1997 Media Week Silver Award, Strategic Sales Pitch of the Year for the Cellnet Campaign conceived and produced by the Development Department

• 1996 Media Week Gold Award, Strategic Sales Pitch of the Year for the Becksentrics campaign for Becks Beer which was also overall runner-up in the Media Week Awards


Further Training

º Open University, Social Science level 1: Distinction

º Negotiation Skills, Scotwork Training Course

º Management Training, The Guardian

º Certificate in Media Studies, Birkbeck College (two years)

º Teeline Shorthand, Pitman Training Centre, London. 80wpm

º Computing, Programming, Massey University, New Zealand Both A+ passes with Distinction

º Singing, Jazz Dancing, Acting lessons

º Advanced Photography, Auckland Technical Institute & Whitecliffe Art School, New Zealand

º Workshop Skills Training, National Council of Churches, NZ