Wednesday

Wednesday 14/08/2002The news from VNU -- publishers of computer titles, and recent acquirers of PC Magazine and IT Week -- is shocking. They're closing PC Magazine, among others, and making huge numbers of pals redundant.

Wednesday 14/08/2002
The news from VNU -- publishers of computer titles, and recent acquirers of PC Magazine and IT Week -- is shocking. They're closing PC Magazine, among others, and making huge numbers of pals redundant. Way back in March, I noted that VNU hadn't bothered appointing a new editor for the title -- and got a pained note from a senior pal inside the company saying "That's not fair!" -- which is rarely a good sign. And so it wasn't. It goes without saying that many people are deeply upset by this, even those who didn't lose their jobs in the closure. There are a handful of ex-Maggers at ZDNet UK, and we're all thoroughly hacked off. I was on the title from issue one, and can remember very vividly the first couple of years when running a big title with by far the largest editorial staff of any such enterprise looked risky at best. Ziff Davis was committed to "religious overspend" on editorial, and built a well-equipped labs to back up editorial opinion with repeatable facts. In return, it charged an arm and a leg for advertising -- the theory being that it would be read and acted upon by people who bought lots of IT stuff. "It'll never work!" snorted the rest of the industry. It nearly didn't. But with lots of money and dedication, it did -- and for a while, working for PC Magazine was deeply satisfying. But if you don't have that dedication to the cause, Mag can look like a very expensive business and ripe for cost-cutting. Then you find you can't do it cut-price, and you wonder why you're bothering at all. Perhaps the market's changed so much that there isn't any room to do things that way. Or perhaps it's not in VNU's genes to spend too much on editorial. Either way, it's a very sad day and a poor end to eleven years of top-notch IT journalism.

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