Some years ago I was on a table at the New Media Age Awards with then news editor Justin Pearse and several representatives of important companies. To say we were drunk would be several layers below understatement.
On our table was a callow young man who represented the at-the-time-flavour-of-the-day music company Shazam who was a little overawed by hanging out with older, more cynical hacks.
“YOU’VE WON, MATE!” piped up Justin as the awards were being handed out and our friend from Shazam got up, arranged his bow tie and walked past ten or so tables with a floodlight on him. He was just about to go on stage when the proverbial penny dropped and he realised that Shazam hadn’t even been nominated for a prize, let alone won one.
Naturally by the time he came back to the table all of us were below the table laughing but he took it well and off we went drinking until whatever knows what time… I think at some point we ended up in a rickshaw, which is a terrible thing for a Londoner to do.
I’ve had many similar times with Justin over the years, one other highlight being a long lunch at Kettners that came to £850 of which £38 was food (and of which the full £850 was paid by me). So the news that he is leaving New Media Age after 12 years and joining in the communications/brand business makes my lips drool.
Not because I’m deliriously happy for him (which I am) but as a part-time journalist it’s going to be his turn to buy ME lunch and, boy, it’s going to cost him, so beware Bite Communications, his expense account is already prohibitive… rather like his dress sense.
On a somewhat more serious note, Justin’s flight from journalism has been flown by many others before and is now an official career path. At some point a £50K job as an editor has to be replaced by a £100K job at an agency and that’s just the way it is.
For trade magazines there appears to be no path at all. New Media Age went from a weekly publication to a website late last year and there is a big difference between being the editor of a prestigious weekly title and being the ‘head’ of a website. It’s not a dream job, although I understand there are two interesting people on the shortlist.
Trade magazines were destroyed by internet advertising. When I worked for IT magazine Computing at the end of the 1990s we were knocking out issues with 200 pages of which 120 were ads. As the ad pages fell, trade journalism went from news to analysis and that just about kept it going. Now there’s little point to a trade magazines, any decent media reader/watcher just uses social now.
So last night at the NMA bash in London it felt as if an era was ending, but loyal and opportunist as ever, Justin told me it was his leaving-do… it wasn’t. His leaving-do is in a couple of weeks, last night was just a ‘social video’ networking event.
That’s going to cost him when we have that lunch. I’ve pencilled in July 3rd as the day and I’m looking forward to it already. In the interim, good luck in your new job, mate, it was a long time coming… now let’s see what you’re made of.