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The new wave of political magazines…

BBC sounds music Radio podcasts from BBC Radio 4 magazines yes, you heard that right years of talk about the death of print from those nattering nabobs of negativism as President Nixon speech writer William safire have been disproven well for some there is a Resurgence for magazines that deal with news and current affairs new ones are being launched old ones arriving we've got three Editions we got three editors here to tell Jason Cowley is the editor of The New Statesman Jason welcome.

What's on this week's cover we have done a piece about the death of privacy surveillance capitalism.

How do you decide is that from such as you are by John Morton the Cambridge academic her book is going to be if it's

But sometimes it's you know Steven but she's got a little story from Westminster we can build a cover around that it could be something we've been working on for weeks.

The only one who's on automatic cover John for me John John gets each.

Other is the editor 1843 magazine magazine from the Rosie coming up to the Macy's 4th birthday, but perhaps even sound Radio 4 listeners about the product.

What is it? So it's The Economist magazine of long-form journalism where the they call Mrs the trusted filter on the world of how you think about it.

We are subject is all your life the story behind your everyday experiences, so it's stories about your worlds extraordinary stories longer and deeper know it's much more stories.

What is it comes out every two months excellent work going home shortly and Chris Montgomery is the editor of the critic and new title that's been going for a few months.

This week I've got a test for you which may have no idea whatsoever that there was nearly magazine called the critic.

We did we didn't really understand.

It's just a disaster would be for search engine optimisation to call your product.

We went through about 15 different names before the magazine was launched.

I wanted to call Soho Square at one stage but people thought that you have to be funky people after from the 60s.

Can you could retake on the London Metropole to delete some of your writers say that surprised that do you know when the previous iteration was founded and wants a 1843 was there you go there's always in 1843 connection.

I think you're wise you're free because it was the year The Economist was found it a good year for what is the long form dream Fort William to say disagreeable things and grateful for the New Statesman 843 for that.

What can you do that? We're all in the boat together and sinking Saxon well.

Particular the danger of all these magazines that have cartoon covers is that they can be studying fall into a rut very very quickly just want to do something that readers would say who is Kanye West we going to talk about your philosophy and shortly before when it comes to existing soft power many regimes now want their own English language news channel is Russia today and got press TV and china as cgtn? This is the world today.

I'm now we begin with the latest out the Coronas outbreak of the number of deaths has dropped for 7 consecutive days outside the episode of hubei daily new cases fell from now.

That is the top stories afternoon from The Chase

Global Television Network cgtn UK channel on TV in the UK critics say it broadcast nothing but propaganda a broadcast licence from Ofcom the regulator has to abide by fairness and impartiality rules yesterday a group of campaign is with what it says his new evidence that proves the channel is controlled by the Communist Party of China which would put it at odds with Ofcom and should be kicked off the air darling is director of safeguarding fenders the campaign is in question and he's on the line from Spain afternoon.

Could you just explain to us what you've presented to have gone well, what were presented is that when everyone was focusing on should you clean extending the term limits to make himself possibly president for life she underwent a major reorganization of its formerly state media and part of that back in 2018 was to move much of its media including.

Stations directly under political party control and this apparently is something at Ofcom is unaware of and we believe that cgt and have failed to report these changes in a court rules to Ofcom and we have now collected evidence about this change and presented it to them we receive correspondence from safeguard to find us regarding the control and procedures which were now considering we did have a cgtn to respond to the charge.

That is controlled by the Communist Party of China but as yet, we've not received a reply to this isn't the first completely made up of about CG in particular you complain to the Channel broadcasts false confessions of prisoners tell us more about this well.

It's a very common practice and shouldn't think came to power to have often what you might call to the suspects of political crimes be paraded on TV long before their trials often even before the formal arrest.

It has happened to British citizens as well.

Peter Humphrey has been broadcast several times in Britain by Chinese TV confessing to various times over of crimes, so this has become quite popular for them to do and violence privacy in Furness regulations Ofcom for what you can broadcast in Britain is specially since most of these confessions are secured through extensive torture while people often locked away at secret whereabouts in secret prisons with no access to legal counsel etc.

You know much about because confession was broadcast on Chinese TV in 2016 before I ask you about the back storage that lets you listen to this is Peter darling.

I will explain to you soon after you've heard it through my favourite here to the Chinese government for the Chinese people.

Apologise for that has ever happened, what letter that false confession pizza well, I'm like most of the Chinese victims that I've spoken to I was actually submitted to physical torture what happened instead of that I was kept at a secret prison incommunicado in solitary confinement and there came a point later during my pension where there was made clear that my girlfriend who is also taken and helpful as Collateral Damage she would not be released unless I agreed to some time of interview working as a human activity that is correct.

They never actually said that this was for some time that TV broadcast but rather just a recording but one day at the secret location when I walked into a room.

There was a number of CCTV journalist ready to work with the ministry of state security and the police to make this interview of course the police had written all the questions and the answers before.

Redirect everything what do you wear? How do you speak etc etc? What do you want to do now Peter well? We have worked with a number of attempts to file this kind of complaints against individual broadcaster.

We believe are in Direct violation of British law and they are currently being investigated by Ofcom which is which is very positive this new complaint is very nature in that the broadcasting act that underpins everything that Ofcom does makes it abundantly clear and with no exception whatsoever that you cannot hold a licence if your current political party.

We have provided ample evidence all of it coming straight from the Chinese state the party or cgt and itself that it is in fact in violation of the broadcasting act as company only has one way to resolve this that is the revoked the licences yourself and have been rather reluctant to make that decision he's got big consequences.

Political statement, isn't it? What are the first complaint was filed over 430 days to go another one 400 Days to go into former police executive within has told us that this is pretty much unprecedented to take this long.

So there is obviously some hesitancy to take on CT and because this is not Iranian TV this is not rushing to this is ok.

So going often somewhat differently when it comes to these regulatory bodies in many countries because consideration with trade and political relations etc, but this new complete is very different in that according to law there is only one way forward.

There are there is no fine to be given.

There is no slab on the rest.

There is only one thing it's specified in the law if it is true.

They must revoked the licence where they say we would be appreciated that this is where you can imagine they say in response to the claim that been sitting on a complaint.

Particularly complex cases they say and we are working to conclude them as swiftly as possible, please.

Thank you very much indeed for your time and feature delicious director of safeguarding fenders for the economy.

What do you get the impression Chinese trying to do with its english-language news channels? What is it got one? It's been a huge expansion over the last 10 years is Chinese New English language news channels, english-language newspapers magazines Web sites and the like it's trying in the words of champagne to tell China story and when it says it's telling China story of course it is telling the Chinese Communist Party story mistake to make because people make false confessions then go and tell people their first confession.

So got a curious thing is that a Russian is a lot more arty? Is it restarted itself? It's just a little bit more cautious and candy and not Crossing that's online absolutely anime know I still many cruise things about the English language of foreign language networks, but there.

Many things there are there now English language websites that you could be fooled into thinking was somewhat critical and you know quite interesting and they are indeed quite interesting but they are still essentially run by the party, but there are what is it interesting about China's broadening of its networks is that it covers a huge range of things and it's trying to give the impression that it can cover the whole range of int is not just tryna and say China is just one part of it and it happens to be quite a sort of Mary Jolley picture which mostly has good news stories and more and more and thank you again now because bucking the trend UK sales figures were up for the New Statesman in the second half of 2019.

I want to find out why Jason I should say I won't if you don't anymore you had an unlikely path to the editorship of the New Statesman you worked at the history magazine Granta you export selected for that before you get and how is life at Grant

Well, I was it was great, but I was there very briefly I was there for one year as editor and I resigned after 8 months because wonderful setup owned by sigrid rausing the famous Tetra Pak family wonderful woman culture loving kindly Holland Park Townhouse as the office beautiful Apple computer is on the desk.

Why did I resign because I got an offer to edit the New Statesman and it was about to be bought by new owner I met him at work just a 2 months before it's a literary editor in the late 90s early 2000s so I knew the publication.


I didn't know this guy was about to say it was only beaten by labour MP and I wouldn't work for him, but I was approached privately by the man who became my cancer and I thought to myself this magazine is in.

The great history has been under invested in for four decades it had periods of success but a lot of many periods of Decline and I was disinclined to take the job but at the same time.

I thought what if someone else takes it makes successive, it would be really just tell you the same.

I don't know but did they tell you how bad the situation was commercially before you started? They didn't I was aware that things were the previous had it done well in very difficult circumstances and I wasn't aware of how difficult life circumstances were had I know how bad.

They were I may still taking the job.

I would have negotiated a marketing budget was uplifting the editorial budget before then when you took over 2 million, what was the circulation in between low 20s and not much Web traffic.

Losses today 40010 addition to that we have web traffic somewhere between 2 to 3 million unique visitors to the web site every month that's a significant and ideas for small magazine and in the balance of income between print and digital that changed from when you took over 12 years ago.

Obviously digital income is rising but also we've got a little B2B business specialist magazines specials website and everything in good reviews too and we're looking to expand as I know you're big American magazine culture, how expressly did you take magazines like the New Yorker will the Atlantic as your model or the Atlantic could because although I'd always reading you coming.

I'm a kind of a journalistic journalist.

I'm interested in lots of things but I was always a literary and cultural journey, but I also knew politics.

The Deep interest in politics and Philosophy I've never worked in the lobby, so that of course there was an assumption that you don't work in the lobby.

You don't know what's going on in politics of Westminster and the Labour Party and the left more broadly and it would you describe the Politics of paper as now the politics? I would ask to call I call it independent liberalism, but it's a magazine of the left, but it's not programmatically on the left this cause constipation want some of your long-standing staff and readers not my stuff because I will be working I guess if they were unhappy with the 12 time what we are we are unpredictable and interesting good writing intelligent writing thinking it's been captured by the labour party crossword is it in the early 70s and it was a mouthpiece for the Labour Party they've been times when it's flirted with the extra-parliamentary left times when it was a mouthpiece for new labour.

When Gordon Brown and Tony Blair rising to power when Peter Wilby was editing it was kind of a post to him was still angry opposition Estate Google what year was surprised because my reading is eclectic and the mighty Atlantic because he was a magazine that was in deep trouble.

You didn't know what it was monthly print title.

It didn't know whether it wanted to be a monthly version of the New Yorker and whoever it was there decided to reinvent it as a print digital hydraulic a model for the labour leadership.

I haven't really thought about it.

You haven't thought about it.

I haven't followed the it's been going on for what month is it going to end in the summer? I haven't really thought about it as a pundit something of a chasm between some of the loudest the strongest voices in the print publication you meant to be like John Grey and some of the voices that predominate the New Statesman

Brandon in writing online satta, no difference between a young Voices online and they're older voices imprints and yes, I think so, but we always nurtured young Talent at the beginning my editorship.

Think one of them.

I wanted to do with not higher established commentators with to find the next generation of political Talent in the 1970s the young Martin Amis Christopher Hitchens James Fenton Julian Barnes credibly all works on the New Statesman the same time so that's ok one isn't going to discover necessarily the next a miss the next Hitchens but we have discovered Helen Lewis Stephen Bush now.

It's on on the Guardian Mehdi Hassan polemicist is now in America ok.

So we have discovered some significant young journalist last year one of your journey is produced the late Sir Roger scruton, then post a picture about it on Instagram and the government scrutiny as result of that coverage from a voluntary post.

He held the government later apologized to him.

What is New Statesman get wrong?

This make mistakes the journalist made a mistake he learnt a painful and difficult lesson from that the matter was dealt with internally apology was made US states and wine critic, but he wasn't an enemy of the publication and yeah, I know him.

I knew him said he died end of last year.

We've had this come to me and said look I want to publish a 6000 word profile of Roger scruton.

I said go ahead how damaging is you think that episode was too.

I think it was an aberration.

Had it been premeditated editorial of thought on this individual that it would have been very damaging but I think people know that underwear just hit the statesman is fair minded high-minded even and one has to live by those principles the matter was dealt with an apology was made.

And we've moved on why do they call them is conclude the intelligent life which is the magazine which 1843 replaced was working it wasn't it? Wasn't working but intelligent life was problematic neighbour to clean the US where is seen as a sort of magazine about UFOs and what we were doing with 1843 was changing the business model a bit so this entire episode on a subscription basis with some sponsorship and 1843 is is with an advertising model primarily printing in the situation now print and digital and moving into podcast sell my money.

It's just about breaking even and what do yourself because it's quite hard to separate yourself because if you should go to the college you get 1843 understand some subscribers Get Lucky individuals, so we've got about 10 percenters newsstand subscriptions and then the rest of the readership is from.

Subscribers ok there is a huge range of subjects covered covered in each edition of your magazine.

How do you try to keep a coherent identity to a magazine any magazine when you're covering such different subjects so in terms of the ongoing idea running through the entire magazine the thing is storytelling so when we do fashion when we do travel when we do design when it is all about story so you won't read anyone you know he's riding on my holidays in the travel section It's A Memoir it's a personal story the same with the fashion shoot we build it into here's the story of where his the story of the power suit so that's one thing that we do throughout whenever we're covering but the other thing we do which I think is probably not something that the reader would notice but hopefully means that we have a coherent magazine each time is essentially we have four types of features and each issue.

One that is emotional something in your emotional life which could be work, too.

What is something from Society one? That's a piece of reportage and one that's a profile and there are some overlap, but you have that as you're kind of four categories.

I hope that the diversity has some cohere crystallogr.

We got essays on power suits in the critical planned and we had a piece of one man dressed badly in last issue as I go down apparently they do what can you do with a critic? That's a The Spectator a standpoint can't well.

We do a greater length which can be a bad thing so obviously all of these magazines are selling it and there's a danger in being too self-referential to the self love is dangerous, when you meet anyone says yes, it's a chunky loan form stream magazine ofoten ideas take step back whenever anyone says that too so it's not so much the format which gives space to write us develop an idea.


Commissioning willingness to entertain ideas which perhaps not getting house room elsewhere, so it's to do possibly unfriendly things and friendly fashion William Buckley launched in 1955.

He said it's mission was to stand at thought history yelling stop and I went to the publication with the mission to stand for this feeling.

Go what's your mission is to let them do that and it shouldn't be it's absolutely shouldn't be some people who try to claim that the USP to the product and not telling you the truth is that I think there is a possible.

I think there is an opportunity for the critic in the UK in UK has been traditionally newspaper culture dominated by the big the big newspaper as well as new place to decline and many ways lose confidence in the long peace or the more thoughtful deliberate if two piece of writing analysis, this is where the small magazines such as such as a critic.

I have had an opportunity you have a distinctly right wing position, but I think you're you're different from The Spectator it in the sense that your articles and more thoughtful even more ambitious and the best thing but you're out of shape of the New Statesman has been on sectarian course you brought it.

You're all the left, but you're not with left so again.

This is not for any shed at The Spectator we have a lovely time.

We are doing our bit dated a trench warfare, SW16 with broken so it's just this week and last week, but it's not about SW1 bubble politics is my ideas which might be rolled into 4 years ago and this time but we're going to get people 4000 words to do with 4000 words what you pay for with doing pretty.


I can't say that.

We're having different journeys to pay different.

That's about it you we talk about front of you find these guys who I think his.

Famous city onto my steam engines in the country and he's an asset manager who gave her way to the brexit party because I come from the table this to end portal on 100% sure what's happening in West industrial capitalism, so I think that's what it let's see now.

It's ok.

You use bruised with the European research group is your is Jeremy hosking trying to do what you're trying to do is give us the voice imprint to 17.4 million people voted for brexit who may be in your view represented.

No programmatically a consequence of brexit, but they sent me a tunnel thing which relates to brexit affected the world seeds opinions which one getting enough airtime and the point for magazines say yes, let's talk about some of the things that plants went talked about enough in the run-up to brexit surprised that critic 23431 launching print from isn't isn't a thing to do to cut the production and distribution costs and just go digital and save all that money you've got for a digital product instead.

I think we keep hearing about being there, but we haven't seen evidence of it yet, and I would say that magazines are the coffee table books of our day and what you're seeing is a real kind of blossoming of magazines are aimed at interest engagements provocative challenging.

I think we all think that we do that.

I hope think we will probably do they not necessarily aimed at men or women are not aimed at particular hobbies are not aimed a particular standpoint.

They're all they're saying hey that's interesting stuff out here.

That's you know that look at the British Public are there enough people in Britain the list of Jason I mean we have a smaller than the United States was too much smaller populations, so I don't think these magazines will never sell huge numbers, but I think there's a where we are growing is also overseas, but that's for website because I thought about traffic noise in North America so we've hi.

Jeremy Cliffe from The Economist at international editor.

I'm just about to appoint a Washington editor and appointing Asia editor in.

Because when will interest in our journalism from outside of the people from The Economist isolated to say that we have we advertised you're still over fabrication.

How many copies of the critic do you need to get my car? I would have thought that if I was with my time.

You have to have a very clear idea because you need to tell if you don't you be in big trouble this.

I hope is that a lot of money for the what is not yet, but that's all well and you're not yet, because there's only so much.

I don't know you're going to try and get Break Even by but 3 years x 3 year plan at the moment Sprinter 24 copies subs new son overseas 4500v station whatever that means.

Usually when I don't I don't quite understand.

How many how many copies do you need to sell the credit for you to be able to make me if we hit the 10000 Mark with my voice also Chris will be you must have a web presence of additional profile magazines and more people can read it who aren't necessarily receiving United magazines.

They have to be vibrant online as well.

So yeah, I think that's absolutely right and you have to have a number of online presence also a digital presence in the app.

So that if you're reading it in one formula of print reader you might then continue reading it and digital ask you that you've been nice which is nice because this is ready for that.

Thank you very much needed.

All I guess Jason Cowley New Statesman Rosie Bloor is the rating 43 and Christopher Montgomery who's coming.

An earlier we heard from Peter Darling of safeguard offenders, thank you to you for listening and see you all next week.

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