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Thursday, April 12, 2007

The true sign of a good magazine

Have to do some judging for this year's PPA Magazine Awards. I've done this on and off for twenty-five years and it doesn't get any easier. They deliver a huge box of shortlisted items in your category and you have to turn up to a meeting next week with a few choices to debate with some other judges. The supporting statements are full of the usual clich├ęs – really understands the market, exceptional team leader, until s/he came this magazine was languishing etc – so they're not an awful lot of help. They send three different issues of each. The difficulty is finding an appropriate way to sample them. There's not a lot of point sitting down at a desk with a sharpened pencil and a yellow legal pad because that bears no relation to the way that real people actually consume magazines. And you have to stop yourself looking for reasons to exclude things: pictures too small, no captions here, contents page misleading, this is just wrong. They're not GCSE essays after all. Think I'll just leave them lying around the house and see which ones get pinched. That's usually a sign of a good magazine. Which reminds me, who's walked off with my copy of Word?