What do you do for a living?
The main thing is to edit PC Pro, which is the UK’s number one IT monthly magazine, and has been for many years. Plus, alongside my business partner Barry Collins, I’m kept busy by two big projects: first there’s Big Tech Question, a website to answer people’s technology problems and provide buying advice. We’re also starting a new community website/forum for creative professionals, but more on that at some later point. Then there’s the small matter of writing a book about the “Computers that Made Britain”, which will be published next year.
What does that mean day-to-day?
I’m busy! I still write quite a bit for PC Pro (mainly reviews but also longer features), and that’s aside from co-ordinating the whole magazine, from proofing pages to planning the various sections to editing around 60 pages each month. I also write articles for the websites.
And there’s that pesky book that needs to be researched and written too. Luckily, I no longer have to spend any time commuting as I do all this from the shed at the bottom of my garden, which is precisely where I am now.
What do you love about magazines?
There’s nothing to rival a magazine. I think it was the Financial Times that described websites as lean-in and magazines as lean-back, and that’s the best differentiator I’ve heard of. With a magazine, you lean back, you relish it, in a way that you simply can’t when browsing on a phone, tablet, laptop or PC.
I think the reason PC Pro still fulfils a need for techies (who were using the internet years before everyone else, of course) is that we’re communicating a lot of complicated information. Magazines help you flick back and forth to understand it. Then there’s the serendipity factor. It’s easy to miss information in the chaotic flow of Twitter and websites with their daily churn, whereas magazines lock it down so that, if you read one from start to finish, you’ll catch up with the trends etc that matter.
Why are you supporting the International Magazine Centre?
Part of it is backing the person. I’ve known Nikki for years from her days of running PPA Scotland, and it’s understating it to say that she’s a ball of energy. More like a firestorm.
But I also think there’s something really interesting behind the idea of an independent agency that will bring publishers (and the rest of the creative folk who make our magazines) together in a way that existing bodies would struggle to match – and I also think that magazines are worth celebrating, which the International Magazine Centre will most certainly do.
Follow Tim on Twitter at @timdanton