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Thursday, December 2, 2021

Left-wing magazine capitalizes on growing interest in British overseas politics


Founded by the Socialist Fabian Society, it has long been regarded as an internal journal of the British Labor Party. The New Statesman magazine is starting what its editor called the largest expansion in its 108-year history-by a data industry entrepreneur Funding.

Editor Jason Cowley’s goal is to attract readers from overseas — with a focus on the United States, Germany, and France — trying to approximately triple its paying readership to 100,000, and to emulate the international success of other Britons. “The Economist” and other publications.

“The UK suddenly became very interesting,” Cowley said. “Because of Brexit, because of Boris Johnson, because of the possible division of the United Kingdom. The crisis of the British constitution is a big subject. We found that these are themes that international audiences want to read.

“We have convinced owners that we are a title worth investing in,” he added, referring to Mike Danson, the founder of GlobalData, a London-listed market research company. “We have an investment plan.”

Brexit and the possible division of the United Kingdom make international readers more interested in British politics © FT Montage/New Statesman

The readership of other current affairs publications is also increasing, contrary to the long-term decline of the broader British magazine sector, which has forced some publications to abandon printing.

According to data from research firm Enders Analysis, between 2010 and 2019, the total sales of printed magazines in the UK fell by 55% to 660 million. The pandemic accelerated its decline, and last year’s circulation fell to 513 million.

In contrast, The Spectator, the center-right competitor of the new statesman, has higher sales than ever before. According to data from the Audit Media Alliance, in the United States, the number of readers of The Atlantic has increased by 24% year-on-year in the first six months of 2021, while the overall magazine has fallen by 18.4%.

“We are all bombarded with information, and the weekly summary seems very meaningful,” said Douglas McCabe, CEO of Enders Analytics.

“This is a very resilient industry,” he added, comparing it to other types that are “almost disappearing,” such as celebrity gossip and male interests.

Since becoming an editor in 2008, Cowley has brought a new voice, published longer articles, and tried to make “The New Statesman” politically more “unpredictable” by relaxing ties with the Labor Party. The title was introduced to the digital paywall two years ago, and the website has recently been relaunched and the printed title has been redesigned.

After decades of reduced circulation and underinvestment, the strategy has begun to bear fruit: the total number of paying readers has increased from less than 20,000 when Cowley took over to 36,000. Approximately 17,000 of these are pure print editions, and the rest are either purely digital editions, or print and digital editions.

Perhaps surprisingly, for titles whose traditional pillars are British politics, about one-third of the online readers of the new politicians are in North America. There are more people living in New York than any British city outside of London.

“The ideas and fields we are interested in-ESG [environmental, social and corporate governance], The global economy, the crisis of liberalism-we think there is a big market outside the UK,” Cowley said.

New Statesman editor Jason Cowley tried to make the magazine more “unpredictable” by relaxing ties with the Labour Party © FT Montage/New Statesman

The editorial positions he hopes to fill include Brussels bureau chief, Asian editor and Chinese writer.

Danson provided an expanded editorial budget. He acquired a 50% stake in 2008 after selling the Datamonitor business to Informa for a profit of 165 million pounds. The following year, he bought the rest of the magazine from Jeffrey Robinson, the former head of the Tony Blair administration.

His other media interests include luxury lifestyle magazines Spears and Press Gazette trade magazines, as well as a majority stake in GlobalData, whose market value has soared to £1.6 billion. But he kept a low profile.

“He wants to run it [the New Statesman] As a business: this is not a vanity project,” said another person close to Danson, who described his politics as a “middle way.”

Danson’s strong financial resources have funded New Statesman’s hiring boom. In the past year, about 16 reporters have been added to the current 45-person team, including Tim Rose from Bloomberg, responsible for its UK political coverage.

“For the first time, I felt like a football coach with a transfer budget,” Cowley said. “During the Covid recession, Mike did not cut expenses but made investments.” In the new year, the publication will be relocated to a new office in Hatton Gardens, London’s jewelry district.

First edition of The New Statesman in 1913 and 1959 © FT Montage/New Statesman

The magazine was founded in 1913, and its stated goal is to “allow the educated and influential classes to spread socialist ideas.” It is very similar to the Labor Party. Under the leadership of the current editor, the magazine’s ideological tone is obviously different. So harsh.

“People have certain opinions about the new politician: it is seen as the mouthpiece of the Labour Party, or the Rainbow Alliance of disgruntled left-wing voices. This is not of interest to me: the news I admire is skeptical, open-minded, high quality.”

The magazine highly criticized the former Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, who Cowley described in the print as “a lecturer in sociology at Red Brick University in the late 1970s,” although he now admits This title “misread” his leadership.

In 2017, Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters protested outside the new statesman’s office, claiming to be biased against him © Matthew Chattle/Alamy

After the disappointing local election results this year, Corbyn’s successor Sir Keir Starmer published a special issue on the “crisis” of the Labor Party and was also skeptical. “I know Stammer finds this painful,” Cowley said of this version.

Is he even a supporter of the Labour Party? “In person? Not now.”

He added that he still considers the publication to be “leftist”. However, all this sounds far from Fabian’s ideals.

Wouldn’t they turn over in the grave? “No. The Fabian people will be happy. We are still interested in the good things that interventionist countries and governments can do. This is correct for the original Fabian mission. We are as committed to quality as they are.”



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