Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Speaking of magazines . . .

I was this month’s guest speaker at an editor’s forum at the Clerkenwell Restaurant in EC1. I was woken by an early call the day before and asked to put a title to the talk. I said Web 2.0 – be there or be square. Bit naff, but, seconds earlier I’d been fast asleep, in goal for Leicester and turning a point-blank drive from Henri round the post. The crowd went mad.

Anyway, back to reality: I gave them a run-through of what I thought were some of the best web offerings in the magazine world at the moment. There’s no definitive jury on this and my preferences change all the time but some are worth sharing with a wider audience.

IPC’s Horse and Hound is really getting to grips with community-building. I can’t stand the thought of fox-hunting but the strength of feeling among the country lobby stretched across 10 very lively forums.

Emap’s Guitar Player is making good use of audio, allowing wannabe rock stars to practice their riffs and play along with other axemen in their bedrooms and Conde Nast’s Vogue Catwalk TV is getting better all the time.

Haymarket are developing their What Car? site into a nice little resource with their road tests sitting alongside the reader reviews.

The common denominator here is the way they are playing to their strengths and using the technology that best suits their purposes, not every bell and whistle in the developer's toybox. I did put a damper on what was a highly interactive exchange by pointing out some of the less successful attempts to embrace the new world – and how easy it is to arrange the best party in town and find no-one comes.

Like I said, the examples were what I saw as the best of the crop on the day. They change all the time in line with innovation. As if to underline that, one of the audience approached me afterwards and reminded me I’d made that point before.

He’d interviewed me for PR Week ahead of a new media conference last summer and asked me for my favourite blog sites. The ones I gave were so dated by the time I joined the panel, I had to read the review to recall what they were.

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