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PPA Festival: hot topics in magazine media 2016

We were at the PPA Festival, an annual coming together of editors and publishers from all corners of the magazine world in London on Thursday (May 12).

Masses of good advice was shared and there was excellent pull quote material (see below).

There were also some interesting and surprising nuggets about the health of the industry in the UK, including the fact that £1.2bn was spent on magazines last year.

More ominously, there is a ‘ticking timebomb’ in the form of privacy and data protection laws which could shoot a hole in companies’ efforts to exploit in other ways the info they gather about subscribers and other customers.

People love the paper product.
No one collects websites

Elsewhere, one theme that stood out was the resilience of the printed magazine. People love and will continue to love the paper product you hold in your hand; some titles are still so prized that readers hang on to them, sometimes for years or even decades. And no one collects websites, as was pointed out more than once.

But alongside valuing the tactile appeal of magazines, the other message coming through with overwhelming clarity was the role social media is now playing, not just as a promotional or research tool but as a publishing platform, making it a big area for investment.

Steve Hatch, UK managing director of Facebook, told the packed session on social that stories in its Instant Articles format are 20% more likely to be read than others online.

Social scene: Steve Hatch of Facebook talks to a full house at the PPA Festival 2016. Pic: Julie Nightingale

Social scene: Steve Hatch of Facebook talks to a full house at the PPA Festival. Pic: Julie Nightingale

Maggie Hitchins, Shortlist Media’s digital editor-in-chief, said going to where the audience is – whether it’s Instagram, YouTube or otherwise – is key, meaning the website is no longer the first port of call for publishing online.

Meanwhile, aspiring journalists like those on our MA/PGDip Magazine Journalism and BA Journalism courses at NTU would have been heartened to hear that one way to get yourself noticed by a top magazine editor is to produce a brilliant magazine on your course – like @MagazineCBJ’s Classic Bride and Quack! – and take it to the interview.

Here are some more top quotes and insights from the day:

A miscast editor is like a fog over a beautiful view. When they leave, the fog lifts – Nicholas Coleridge, managing director, Condé Nast

A significant number of consumer publishers have no digital offer at all – Jim Bilton, PPA Futures Report

I’m amazed by how adults are affected by what they read about themselves on social media. You don’t have to read the comments! – Alexandra Shulman, editor, Vogue

There’s so much clickbait out there. I don’t care about massive numbers, I want the engagement – Julian Linley, editor-in-chief, Digital Spy

‘Tinder opening lines’ is an example of ‘evergreen’ [non-topical] content that’s much looked for online – Cathy Ma, audience development director, Bauer Media

The under-30s are relaxed about ‘everything being advertising’, partly because they seldom pay for content so they don’t question ‘value’ – David Hepworth, director MixMag Media and magazine titan

People talk about content like it’s a bucket you can fill and empty at will. Our staff are creatives, wordsmiths, artists – Anna Jones, CEO, Hearst

Read more at the PPA Festival storify


Simon’s scoop lands him place on awards shortlist

Talented trainee journalist Simon Murfitt was nominated for scoop of the year at the NCTJ awards. Read More…

How James won top sport award – read his winning work

Delighted CBJ old boy James Sharpe is still pinching himself after winning a top award. Read More…

Oliver and Tania toast awards success

CBJ students were among the winners at the inaugural Midlands Media Students Awards.
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Nottingham city council’s invisible candidates struggling to reach voters

The first-year broadcast journalism students here at CBJ have been working hard to compile profiles for every candidate standing in the forthcoming Nottingham City Council elections.

We have been aiming to compile biographical details and photographs for everyone pitching for a seat and, with a total of 55 seats, across 20 wards, and up to a dozen candidates per ward, this has been a considerable undertaking.

But we didn’t realise just how considerable until we started our research and were astonished to find just how few candidates can be found on social media or, indeed, have any digital platform whatsoever.

Despite trawls of party websites and news sites far and wide, many of these candidates are nowhere to be found.

We have tried emailing and calling political party offices and, even, home numbers and we are still struggling to gather the information.

If we are finding this so hard, what about voters wanting to know about the candidates hoping to represent them? How do these people hope to attract votes on polling day when there is so little information about them available?

In today’s digital world there is no reason why this should be the case. Surely the first thing anyone wanting to represent their community should do is to inform that community of who they are and what they about. But this doesn’t seem to be happening here in Nottingham.

The turn-out at local elections is low, traditionally no higher than 35 per cent and here maybe a reason for this. Is it any wonder that voters are struggling to be engaged when candidates are so invisible?

Out now! Read Women’s Tri and Core magazines online

Two magazines produced by CBJ’s Magazine Journalism students are available to read now via our new digital platform.

Women’s Tri, winner of this year’s Dragons’ Den contest for the best magazine pitch at CBJ,  combines interviews with top women triathletes with advice on training and which kit to buy, plus novice Alyss Bowen takes on the challenge of cycling, swimming and running with triathletes in Nottingham.

And click here to see Notts County FC nutritionist Matt Lawson share his own top tips for triathletes.

Meanwhile, ahead of the General Election, top broadcaster Kay Burley talks to Core magazine about her career in political journalism. Core also has reviews, features and Mike Pettifer’s column on why he feared the end of the world would scupper his plans to become a train driver.


Magazine journalism: What the experts say, Time Out, Woman’s Weekly, Classic Rock . . . what do they have in common?

Apart from the fact that they are established, top-notch digital and print brands, their bosses have all spoken to MA/PGdip Magazine students at CBJ this academic year.

You can read all about it at First Last Everything, the CBJ Magazine website. Meanwhile, here’s a flavour of what they told us about their magazines, their jobs and how they got started in journalism:

Read More…