Marketing Week editor Mark Choueke bites back at my ‘lazy journalism’

Marketing Week editor Mark Choueke has responded in no uncertain terms (see comments) to my report on the travails at MW publisher Centaur Communications.

In it I suggested that MW might be destined to go the same way as many of the other titles in Centaur’s marketing division, like Design Week and New Media Age which are now going online-only.

Here’s Mark’s comment on the article I wrote earlier today:

Wow. That is without doubt the laziest piece of journalism I can remember reading in a long time. Just a simple call to me, publishing director Sarah Gilchriest or anyone else here at Marketing Week would have ensured you got your facts straight.

For your information, Marketing Week is in rude health. As is Creative Review. By any measure you wish to use.

As for your self-congratulatory description of the “once-mighty Marketing Week” (one presumes the golden era coincided with your own time at the helm Stephen), it is clear to me that you don’t see Marketing Week magazine on a regular basis and don’t use our award-winning website. If you did you’d know how stupid you sound to any one of our readers. We’re going from strength to strength.

Next time you’ve got a story to write about Marketing Week, don’t try and substitute a passing knowledge of how business publishing used to work before the internet existed as expertise. Give me a call and I’ll give you the facts. That part of journalism remains the same as it was in your day.

Well it’s true of course, I didn’t ring him up.

But the facts in the story are (mostly) unchallenged apart from my lamentable cock-up in saying Lynda Relph-Knight was editor of Creative Review when she was, of course, the distinguished editor of Design Week.

The main point at issue is the current health of Marketing Week in commercial terms, no-one would dispute that it’s a good magazine editorially.

And the facts are that classified advertising, which made the magazine’s fortune and which used to bring in about £6m a year (nearly all profit) has evaporated. So B2B titles like Marketing Week, however much their readers might love them, are struggling.

MW publisher Centaur does at least have a strategy: slim down the company to try to make events and online pay.

Was my report informed by a fond recollection of my own time as editor (quite short actually, about two years)?

For some of that time Marketing Week Communications, as it then was, didn’t know where the next month’s pay cheques were coming from.

Far from being a ‘golden era’ it was a bit a dogfight.

Then Centaur and Graham Sherren (and Jocelyn Stevens, although I’m saving that bit for my memoirs) came in with some money and stabilised the company.

A couple of brilliant ad executives, Lyn Ayling and Tim Carron Brown, who’d been there in the tough times, brought in even more money. Then we all left (including Lyn and Tim).

So editors don’t bring in the money; as Mark surely knows they just create the context for it to happen (a proper job admittedly), market circumstances allowing.

And magazines like Marketing Week (and my alma mater Campaign) are facing a difficult future.

I’ll be happy to debate this further if Mark Wants to.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.