I Want That Job! Kate Burke - Editor, Climber Magazine

by Jack Geldard - UKC Chief Editor Sep/2008
This article has been read 4,437 times

In this article series I Want That Job! I'm interviewing people from various professions within the climbing world. If you think your job is a dream come true (it has to be climbing related) and if you're willing to be interviewed - then drop me a line. Likewise if you can think of a job that you'd like to have - suggest it in the forums and I'll try and track someone down.


It's the turn of Kate Burke, Editor of the long running magazine Climber.  Kate started life at the magazine as the Assistant Editor a couple of years ago, and is now sat firmly on the bridge of the galactic media ship of Climber, based down in Lincolnshire.  Here she shares the ups and downs of the job...

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Kate Burke - Editor - Climber Magazine
© Kate Burke, Sep 2008
Name: Kate Burke 

Age: 29 

Job Title: Editor, Climber magazine 

Relevant Qualifications: PgDip Journalism (NUJ) 

Perks and holidays/time off: I've travelled to, and climbed in, some exciting places all in the name of 'work'. Plus I get to meet lots of talented and inspiring people! 

Describe your job:

Liaising with contributors and planning future content. I like to have the next 4/5 issues planned in advance, more if possible, it makes it easier to sleep at night! Editing text, choosing and editing images, working with the designers on the layout and look of the magazine, visiting brands with the advertising and marketing team. Being a monthly magazine the first two weeks of the month are nice and relaxed, the third week the blood pressure begins to go up, and the final deadline week sees me turning into a nervous wreck, sporting sweaty palms and a rather high-pitched voice. 

How did you get this job?

I had been living and working in Chamonix for a skiing/snowboarding magazine. I used to read Climber and saw the job for Production/Assistant Editor/general dogsbody advertised in the back. So I applied, and got the job. I then worked on the magazine, under the direction of Bernard Newman for two years, and started as Editor about a year ago. 

Describe your average day at work? And the average week?

There is no average day. Catching up on emails, planning the next issue, editing text, chasing images, meeting people, nagging contributors (which I've become scarily good at)... 

Is it how you/other people imagine it to be?

There's far more work involved than I think some people realise. And putting together the actual magazine is only the tip of the iceberg. 

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Kate Burke in Ailefroide
© Kate Burke, Sep 2008
The best day?

The best day is when a feature or idea comes together that I'm excited about and think is going to be really good. Or when I get to see the mock-up of the mag before it goes to print and feel really pleased with it. Or when I get a great shot for the cover. Or when I'm half way up a soaring rock tower in Ethiopia thinking “this is part of my job”. 

The worst day?

The worst day is when a feature gets pulled at the last minute, I don't have a cover image yet, I have 200 unread emails in my inbox and it's deadline day tomorrow!

Why is it great being an Editor...?

It's great working on the whole magazine, rather than just one feature or section, and being able to shape and control the product. 

And why is it rubbish?

It becomes very personal, and it's difficult sometimes to switch off. I've woken up in the middle of the night worrying that mistakes have slipped through the net or that people won't like the magazine (and I know I'm not the only Editor to lose sleep over such things). 

Do you 'love' your job?

I definitely love the job. You get to talk about, read about, write about, and look at pictures of climbing all day... and if you're lucky you get to go climbing as well. I feel really honoured to be part of Climber Magazine.

If a teenager said to you 'I want to be an Editor like you'  – what would you say?  Recommend it?  Warn them off?  Laugh?!

I'd say 'go for it'. There are so many different routes you can take to get to the role of Editor, but you will be spending a lot of time in front of your lap-top.

Any tips and advice on how to get to where you've got?

It's a lot about being in the right place at the right time.


Kate works on the magazine every month, which is full of inspirational articles and photography.  Recent favourites of the UKC staff include the regular Stone Circles articles by Simon Panton and a particularly fine piece on John Cleare earlier in the year.  For more information, articles and photos, visit the Climber Website.


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