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60 seconds with…Gillian de Bono

How long have you worked at the FT and what do you cover?

As a freelancer, I set up the FT’s first A-Level League Table, which played into my background in research at the Consumers’ Association. But I had also edited a number of magazines and when How To Spend It was launched, I was asked to head up a new magazine department. That was 17 years ago. As well as editing the magazine, I also now edit howtospendit.com and our new iPad app.

What is the best part of your job?

The people. As well as an extended family of more than 100 writers, photographers, stylists and illustrators, my in-house team is also very special – talented, hard-working and very much liked by our contributors.

What’s the most challenging part of your job?

Resisting the cakes and sweets kept by the art desk.

Most bizarre part of your journalism career.

When AIDS first hit the headlines, Which? magazine asked me to test condoms as protection against the virus. My work involved lengthy phone calls with Californian doctors about gay sex – in an open-plan office – and buying hundreds of test samples in Soho sex shops.

Other than the FT, where do you get your news from and what is your preferred method of consumption?

Mostly print and TV because I associate sitting at a computer with work.The Sunday Times is my other weekend read. I particularly enjoy The Sunday Times Magazine and Culture.

What’s the biggest change you’ve witnessed in the company during your years at the FT?

I no longer hear the chink of trolleys delivering bottles of Laurent Perrier to groups of journos who feel the need for a celebratory tipple. Things are looking up though. The trolleys have returned with tea and cake.

What product(s) do you wish you had invented?

A silencer for that ear-blasting, gratuitous boy-toy or the petrol leaf blower.

What was the last song you downloaded on your iPod?

Tender is the Coming by The Unthanks

Where’s the best place you’ve travelled to?

Wherever I am holidaying next.

What are your favourite high street shop?

Anthropologie for its quirky clothes, great changing rooms and lovely staff. Cos for low-cost understated style and Zara before midday, before the crowds descend.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Meditate. It’s a wonderful life tool and I wish I’d learnt the skill much earlier in life.

What is your motto for life?

What goes around comes around.

Provide a picture and tell us the story behind it.

I tend to look rather homely in photographs so when I had my official FT picture taken (as above), I told the photographer to make me look like a kick-arse editor. I rather think she did.

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