Private Frazer doesn’t do campaigns. Snark, sarcasm, uncorroborated stories – yes, yes and oh yes, but manning the barricades? taking to the streets? That’s for people who actually care about something.
But here’s a story. It’s from an impeccable source (unusual for me) at what we’ll call Horribly Big Publishing Ltd. The source was doing some first interviews for a mid-level sales post and recommended one candidate to the head of advertising as worth giving a second interview. “Which one was he?” asked Horribly Big Publishing’s head of advertising. “Joe Bloggs, the tall black guy.” said my correspondent.
“No,” says the head of advertising, “we tried that experiment once and it didn’t work.”
Let that sink in. This is a publisher of some big names brands, in London – one of the most culturally and ethnically diverse cities in the world. In 2016. Two thousand and fucking sixteen.
It’s extremely rare to come across that sort of overt prejudice anywhere, let alone a magazine publishing company, but before you feel too good about yourself, have a look around your own office. Does the proportion of non-white employees come close to what you’d see in a London street or London school? And how many publishing companies have people of colour at board level? I know of two off the top of my head – there may be more, but it’s hardly commonplace; I can think of more magazines where the entire staff – the entire staff – is white. (And have a wee look at the snapshots from last year’s PPA Awards ceremony.)
We need to face up to the fact that magazine publishing is institutionally racist. And we should be doing something about it.
I refer you back to the first sentence of this post, and you’ll realise that the “we” is Private Frazer kicking the ball down the park for someone else to pick up. Press Gazette, Media Briefing and, especially the PPA, over to you.
It is five years since Private Frazer’s Doomed Magazines posted its first entry, a short squib about the death of Paranormal magazine. Since then there have been another 405 posts, a couple of thousand tweets and a few dozen truculent comments on the Press Gazette and Guardian Media pages.
The reach of the blog is small, with generally just over 1,000 visits a month (one picture of cute kittens would probably get more traffic). Its ‘influence’ is zero, knowledge of its existence is marginal and it attracts few comments.
But I have it on good authority that is has annoyed senior people at several publishing companies (hi, Stevie!) and at the PPA (here’s looking at you Bazza!), which does at least warm the cockles of my chill old heart.
Because if there was a point to the blog, beyond amusing myself, it was to try to irritate the complacency out of publishers; to shake that belief that the money would continue to flow because customers would continue to buy any old tosh that was served up to them and, because an ink on paper issue of Heat could trace a direct line back to Gutenberg, it was therefore a product that should be venerated. In particular it was a place to vent about the stupidity and short-sightedness of the many publishing companies who did not seem to appreciate that the industry needed more than another round of cost-cutting and redundancies to survive.
That the market was turning down in 2008 was pretty obvious, as was the fact that this was a structural rather than a cyclical downturn (although there were numerous voices both in my company and the broader industry that argued that this was temporary and that the good times would return). What even I didn’t appreciate then was just how bad things were going to get and how quickly. (more…)
It looks like I picked the wrong week to give up snark, as FeaturesExec report that Key’s Classic Aircraft has skittered off the end of the runway.
The exits are here, here and, specifically, here.
It’s with a heavy heart that Private Frazer informs you of the death of Global Slag magazine. Even a TV appearance couldn’t save them from the structural failings of publishing a controlled circulation magazine:
In October 2006, Global Slag Magazine was featured as the guest publication on the BBC’s ‘Have I got news for you’.
More than a quarter of people have cut back spending on magazines and newspapers in the economic downturn in favour of free online content, a study shows today.
But as more news outlets consider charging for their internet offering, the report shows there is little appetite for subscription services in the immediate future.
From The Independent – who could do with a few quid from somewhere, anywhere, themselves.
Ink Publishing has stopped publication of Velocity, the inflight magazine for VLM Airlines.
Two unconnected, but not unrelated, news stories:
PrintWeek: Demand for paper to fall dramatically by 2020
Magazine demand is estimated to decline by 32% as a result of a rise in online publishing and impact on advertising, along with the impact of digital media on the business magazine sector.
Rupert Murdoch: “I can see the day maybe 20 years away where you don’t actually have paper and ink and printing presses.”
Future’s You Can Craft magazine – “designed especially for card makers” – has folded. This is the second craft title to close recently with Aceville’s Quick and Crafty being put back in its box two weeks ago.
As the motoring industry power slides into a full-blown depression (have you seen the figures for new car sales? They make even house prices seem buoyant) it can only be a matter of time before one of the car mags fails its MOT. (more…)
Tam o’Shanter’s off to Tim Brooks, Guardian News & Media’s managing director, who in an interview with Media Week came up with this:
If I had a pound for every title that will close in 2009, I’d have enough money to subscribe to both Monocle and Intelligent Life – but that would be pointless, because neither of them will be around by the end of this year.
A man after Private Frazer’s own heart.