David Hepworth’s blog, reasons to like

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.

DAVID HEPWORTH

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.

 

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2 comments

  1. Very kind of you to say kind things but I have to gently take issue with the idea that there was a link between The Word’s quality and its weakness as a commercial proposition. It was launched in the hope that it could find a small but profitable niche in a dependable market. The problem is that the market started to decline (in both copy sales and advertising) and when that happens there’s nothing much you can do. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in more than thirty years in the media business it’s this: you’re not a genius when it’s going well and you’re not a numbskull when it’s going bad. You’re just there at the wrong time.

    • Quite right of course. I was being flippant – and I’m not in truth cynical about the chances of quality succeeding when the conditions are right.