A New Era at AIN: Q&A With Editor-In-Chief Charles Alcock
Charles Alcock wanted to be a journalist from a very young age and it never crossed his mind to do anything else. Now after 20+ years with AIN Publications, he has been named Editor-In-Chief and assumes full control of all AIN editorial. With AIN’s already stellar reputation as the editorial leader in the aviation industry, his role in maintaining that is no easy task.
You might know him as AINtv’s gleaming personality or AIN’s International Show News editor, Alcock will now bring his energy and enthusiasm to lead AIN’s editorial into a new, always changing era of technological advancement. While he admits that getting into aviation journalism was a happy accident, he enjoys working in one of the most diverse and fast-moving industry to cover as a journalist.
While battling a hefty editorial calendar, Alcock took the time to sit down and give us some insight into his new position and vision for AIN.
You have recently been named editor-in-chief of AIN Publications. Please describe your new role with the company.
I manage the editorial and production teams that produce all of the AIN group’s print and online publications. In addition to the monthly edition of AIN, these now include special show editions produced in five different continents, Business Jet Traveler (plus the special Chinese language edition of its Buyers Guide), six electronic newsletters each week plus constantly-updated news online at www.ainonline.com, as well as our AINtv video coverage. Very simply my job is to make sure that AIN delivers the very best possible news coverage and information for our readers through these various outlets.
You have now been with AIN Publications for over 22 years. What do you see as the future of AIN?
I want AIN to be the undisputed, leading source of aviation news and we are well on the way to achieving this. AIN has deep roots in the U.S., but increasingly we have a strong global presence and I am building on this to ensure that we can deliver news from key aviation markets around the world. At the same time, AIN is expanding its horizons as a sophisticated media group, offering content in both digital and print formats. I see us stretching the boundaries of the way information is presented to our readers through various new digital initiatives.
You were instrumental in the start of AINtv and were the long time on-air personality. Do you have any background in broadcasting?
I don’t have any professional background or training in broadcasting. However, over the years I have made numerous TV and radio appearances as an independent commentator on aviation. I’ve really enjoyed appearing on news shows produced by the BBC, CNN, C-NBC, France 24, Al Arabiyah and Dubai TV, as well as broadcasts in China and Russia. I definitely love reaching AIN’s audience this way.
What’s the value of AINtv to our audience and where do you see it heading into the future?
The greatest value of AINtv is that it can bring exclusive video coverage of events such as air shows to viewers who would not otherwise have been able to share in this news. We’ve posted video from one side of the world and had great feedback from viewers on the other side of the world almost immediately. It is very satisfying indeed. We can demonstrate products to viewers, allowing them to see all the latest technology is if they were there to try it out for themselves. We definitely want to increase our TV output and new technology and the willingness of our fantastically creative team to learn new skills is already making this happen. I expect we will seek to tap our video production skills to serve up so-called augmented reality content online.
In your opinion, what makes AIN’s editorial stand out in the aviation industry?
Our news coverage is completely independent and impartial. That’s an easy thing to say, but a hard thing to deliver. Above all else, we’re here to serve readers and viewers. Our editorial content is entirely based on the goal of providing them with the most accurate and balanced coverage of the industry. We don’t aim to act as a marketing arm of the companies we cover but by being so independent we deliver an unrivalled readership to these companies. The key difference is that AIN’s readers know that we’re giving them the news straight and it means that they trust us and see us as a key source of information. That’s a rare thing these days.
Since 1995, you have been the international editor of Aviation International News. How did that experience prepare you for your role today?
It’s been a fantastic presentation. When AIN sent me back to Europe in 1995, we were only just beginning to understand the extent to which the aviation industry would develop around the world. Today, our coverage of markets such as Asia, the Middle East, Africa and South America has exploded and is now one of AIN’s core tasks. I’ve been fortunate to be at the forefront of this trend and it is definitely a key part of my new role as editor-in-chief.
You were also the long-time editor of the International Airshow News. What challenges did that role present?
Having to produce daily news coverage for AIN from all around the world has really stretched my management skills (as well as my sanity at times!). Our team has faced all sorts of—at times nerve-racking—challenges, such as power outages, security alerts and government censorship. You need to be a supreme organizer, a motivator and a diplomat all in one. I’ve been fortunate to work with a truly exceptional group of colleagues at shows around the world and thankfully they are all still with me in my new job.