Interview: Suby

Suby tells us what it's like to be a sub editor at a top flight motorcycle magazine.
Author: Garry Morrow

Author: Garry Morrow


One of the many questions I get asked here all the time is how do I get into the industry and is it a good job. Well the fact is it is not like any other industry where there may be a large number of people needed to perform a particular job.
Suby at the office. Photo:
In the motorcycle industry each job tends to be specific and requires certain skills. There is the exception maybe of a sales team but even as a salesman in the industry there is a certain amount of knowledge needed to gain entry. For this insider and a few more throughout the year I thought we would look at some of the jobs, the people who perform them and how they got there and of course the lifestyle. First cab of the rank we thought we would grill the man know as Suby, his real name is Mark Fagg, who works as the sub editor at Stroke Magazine. Insider: How did you end up being sub editor of Stroke magazine?

Suby: Well, basically I just knew the right person at the right time. I am good mates with Troy Dorron, in 2003 he was riding for the Full Throttle Sports Honda team and I met Yarrive through him. I did some of the FTS races like the Thumpercross's and also all of his Supercross meets and I got to know him. Then mid way through 2006 he rang me up and told me he was looking for someone to help with the magazine and it just went from there really. I wrote him a story as a test and it ended up getting run in the 2nd issue. From there I was doing a couple of days a week and then a couple of months later he put me on full time.

Insider: You don’t see the job advertised a great deal but I have seen the job pop up from time to time. Do you think it's more of an advantage to make yourself know as an interested handy person to all the mags somewhere along the line.

Suby: I think so for sure. My job is more of a behind the scenes job, a lot of it involves organising the feature stories and pictures from our other contributors, dealing with the public, organising competitions, bike and product testing as well as smaller things like DVD reviews and placing captions on photos. As well as that, I update our website every day, so you see, its a pretty busy week for me!

Insider: I am guessing from dealing with you, that it is not a 9 to 5 job. Before we get onto the upside, are there any downsides'

Suby: Well, it's definetly not. Like most jobs you have you're good days and you're bad days. In the week leading up to when we go to print, we generally have to work some long hours, getting everything finished off right. That's the biggest down side I guess. I'm not sure what it's like at other magazines but if we try to get stuff done too early, but the time the mag hits the shelves if will be out of date so a lot of the magazine is done in the final two weeks before we go to print. Living in Geelong, i have to travel for a couple of hours a day to get to our North Melbourne office so I'd say that's the only other down side. It's not too bad thought, it gives me some time to chill out and listen to my ipod.

Insider: So OK now what are the up-sides. Chicks, Bikes, Freebies??

Suby: Haha, well there isn't much in the way of chicks in this job that's for sure! As for bikes, I got hooked up pretty good with Suzuki this year, we tricked up my RMZ250 as a project bike and its a sweet ride. It's so much fun to ride, I just need to learn how to go about 20 seconds a lap faster and I'll be all good! Haha. I really enjoy doing our product tests, which of course also means freebies, I get to try some pretty cool stuff that I wouldn't otherwise be able to do. So yeah, the job has some pretty good perks! I feel like a very lucky person a lot of the time to be looked after how I am.

Insider: OK, getting back to reality, how much of the magazine do you actually get to have an input into?

Suby: Most of it! Whether it's me and Yarrive picking out which pictures to use in feature stories or putting together sections like 'Around the Table' and 'Up to Speed'. There isn't much that I don't have some sort of input into. That's on the editorial side. I don't have much at all to do with advertising, Yarrive and Adam Bailey have got that sorted so I don't get involved. A few of us here also go over print outs of the whole mag right before it goes to print to weed out any errors, so it's a team effort in putting it together.

I also put together the mini-mag inside Stroke - Throttle Jockey. I'm still learning how to write an editors note properly! It's good to try and give the junior riders a bit of coverage too, as they are the future of our sport so that's satisfying.

Insider: So is it you that cops it when something goes wrong, like a photo of Shane Metcalfe with the caption "Insert caption here" LOL

Suby: Haha, well I cant take credit for that one! I hadn't started working for Stroke when that happened. But yes, if there is a problem, it's pretty much down to me. Yarrive cops it more than I do thought, because he is officially the editor. So, if there is a problem, he cops it, and then I cop it! So, I try to minimise the risk of any problems before they happen. As with any magazine, there always seems to be things that slip through the cracks and it's part of my job to try and make sure there are as little mistakes as possible.

Insider: OK well i think you have given us a bit of an insight into the life of a sub editor so thanks very much and i will let you get back to sub editing. Before i go, who do you think will win the Nokia MX Nationals in Pro Open and Lites?

Suby: Hasn't Jake and Dan already won???

Insider: You ARE ON IT, a true sub editor LOL

Suby: Haha, nice one! I try to stay informed HAHA Thanks Gaz.

Main Photo: Suby's work sometimes sees him in the thick of it. Here he went out and had a go in the Pro Open clas at round 8 of the Nokia MX Nationals.

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