“There Is Nothing Better Than Starting A Magazine From Scratch”: Ita Buttrose

“There Is Nothing Better Than Starting A Magazine From Scratch”: Ita Buttrose

Her baby Cleo might have had its final day, but Ita Buttrose still says there’s nothing better than producing a magazine, and speaking exclusively to B&T, she said she wishes she was still in the game.

Hannah Edensor
Posted by Hannah Edensor

“Magazines like Cleo bring a lot of creative people to you because when they see that you’re doing something very different and very creative you tend to bring a lot of creative people to you,” she said.

“In the beginning, when we were all looking for creative outlets, Cleo did offer it; a different way of looking at things, a different way of creating things and speaking to people.”

And now when she catches up with her old magazine comrades, Buttrose told B&T they love to “dream up” new and exciting possibilities.

“Sometimes we talk about new titles, and new things, and what we might do, and if only, and all those sorts of things,” she said, reminiscing on the days of Cleo.

I feel like I want to start a magazine again.

“There is nothing better than starting a magazine from scratch. There isn’t a better thrill in the world, I’ll tell you, and I’d love to still be doing it.”

“But I suppose magazines run their course,” she added. “I could be critical about the direction the magazine took, but you know, it’s not my magazine anymore, other people run it, you have to let things go. You can make an observation but that’s it.

“I think all of us that worked on the magazine gave it the best we could and certainly those of us who created it and steered it through its early formative years are very proud of what we achieved with it.”

Buttrose said magazines nowadays tend to have lost their local focus, saying it was “more Australian” in her days at the helm.

“It’s lost a bit of its ‘Australian-ness’ if that’s a word, it’s just lost a bit of its Australian identity, and I don’t think we should ever forget that,” she mused.

“Sometimes, putting the Australian part of what people like to read and see is an important factor in magazines, in television.

“When they did Paper Giants: The Birth of Cleo on the ABC it rated gangbusters, they didn’t think it would, they were nervous about it, and it went off. And then the latest series about the Packers and the cricket, and then we’ve had Molly Meldrum and we’ve had Peter Allen.

“Australians are actually interested in Australians, and you shouldn’t forget that. It’s fine to do overseas celebrities, but there’s room for Australian success stories as well, we are interested in our neighbourhood and that happens to be Australia.”