Current affairs buoyant

By Alyson Fixter

Newspaper sales may be falling, but Britain’s influential current affairs magazines are attracting increasing numbers of readers to their blend of news and analysis.

Private Eye, The Spectator and New Statesman all showed decent circulation rises in this week’s ABCs, while Dennis title The Week was up 9.8 per cent and political magazine Prospect saw the greatest rise of the group, up 14.2 per cent.

Under the new editorship of John Kampfner, New Statesman gained nearly 1,500 readers in the latter half of last year, to reach 24,740, although it still lags well behind its right-wing counterpart, The Spectator, which put on 3.5 per cent of readers year on year to sell 68,415 copies a week.

In the business and finance sector, however, fortunes were mixed: while The Economist’s global sales grew 4.5 per cent and MoneyWeek saw a massive sales increase of 38 per cent, to 29,640, Business Life and Investors Chronicle both saw drops of nearly 10 per cent.

Departing Economist editor Bill Emmott said the news weeklies fitted better into an increasingly internet-dominated world than the newspapers.

He said: "Newspapers have been most troubled by Googling and all that, while magazines have benefited from the ‘commoditisation’ of news.

"People pay our salaries to think about the world for them or process information. People want us to do their work for them because Google gives you rather raw information. So the task of actually analysing and checking the reliability of things is something people still actually want to pay magazines for."

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