There’s obviously a market for political magazines as I commented in-depth quite a while back, and not much has changed since then, other that the web and internet matures daily, putting pressure on print-based information.
This week a new political magazine – ELECTED – was launched by Public Matters. I say that there’s obviously a market, well, I’m not sure of its size, or of its business model. Elected says it will deliver its first three monthly issues free, to over 22,000 councillors, and other politicians. After that date its subscription only, at £5/month.
We councillors have a huge choice of reading matter. We receive First, a weekly magazine from the Local Government Association, and some political parties issue a quarterly magazine directed at their councillors. Then there’s Total Politics, a monthly from Iain Dale’s stable, and PoliticsHome, a web-based subscription service purely on Westminster politics.
As a councillor I’m expected to have an informed opinion on anything that affects our borough, and that’s a pretty wide range of topics. But at an individual level I put my energies into a smaller range of topics, some of which for me are the economic development of the town and villages in Surrey Heath, issues around leisure, environment, culture, and governance. The printed magazines don’t provide sufficient detail on my ‘hot’ issues. I can pick up on the state of political debate, from the daily press, TV, blogs, websites, or from councillors in neighbouring boroughs.
Therefore I’ll not be subscribing to Elected, although I’m impressed by the quality of its content, and that 20% of the magazine is on developing the expertise of local councillors. It’s becoming a crowded marketplace for political magazines. It’ll be interesting to see who wins.
I must admit that the acquisition by PoliticsHome of the London Evening Standard’s political journo Paul Waugh as its new editor, makes it the more likely that this is the service that I’ll plump for over the printed magazine.