For the first time in a long while I’ve added a new line to the blogroll (scroll down on the right): one of several blogs written by David Hepworth, an experienced magazine editor and publisher.
I’ve never met Hepworth but I’ve been following his work for a long time. When I was editing the Saturday edition at The Times, the magazine Hepworth was then publishing, The Word, was the most enjoyable magazine I read in any month. It was irreverent, snappy, wise and funny. It covered movies, books, music and almost anything that babyboomers like to enjoy, watch, listen to or collect and it did so without ever implying that the readers were idiots who needed to be tricked into reading something. In short, it had a lovely, likeable editorial personality. Strictly speaking it was a music magazine, but it felt like something broader and more eclectic.
Being so good, of course The Word was a weak commercial proposition and folded. Like a fool, I never kept any copies. See here the kind of distress its closure caused.
People talk a lot about lists as an organising principle for online journalism. Hepworth and his colleagues took the idea of “the ten silliest movie endings” and turned them into a minor art form. The Word had the funniest, most sharply-written and best edited lists I’ve ever enjoyed reading. The people who write lists at Buzzfeed should bury themselves in The Word’s archive to improve. I can’t find examples of lists from the Word online, but maybe I’m not looking in the right place. If someone sends me a link I’ll embed it here. Those lists will still be relevant and funny now.
Oh, and Hepworth is wise too. Here’s an example from the other day: publishers should stop promising what they can’t deliver.