Q: editor exits within four months
John McKie has "agreed to step down" as editor of Emap’s flagship music title Q – less than a year after the abrupt sacking of his predecessor Andy Pemberton.
McKie, who was in the editor’s chair less than four months, was immediately replaced by a former Q deputy editor, Danny Ecclestone.
Speaking to Press Gazette from Spain, McKie said he was "gutted" by the news which had come as a "complete shock". He was offered a consultancy role which he turned down.
"I wouldn’t have walked away from a job I loved," he said.
"It came at a point when I was concentrating solely on getting the job done and consulting the team. I wish Danny all the best."
His departure, six weeks ahead of a redesign, follows the promotion of former Mojo editor Paul Trynka to editorial director of Q and Mojo.
McKie said he was told the decision had nothing to do with sales, creativity or ideas but that it had been a managerial issue.
Insiders say McKie joined Q when staff morale was at an all-time low. Emap increased its frequency to 13 issues a year to boost revenue, which resulted in an extra workload for staff and freelances with no added resources. McKie is believed to have raised these issues with management.
"I started later than I wanted because they asked me to edit two profitable spin-offs, Smash Brits and Popstars. I’m proud of everything I have done at Q and I felt they still had to see the best of me," said McKie.
Trynka said: "John is a talented guy. Some of his experience on Smash Hits transferred well to Q and some of it didn’t. Every magazine is different and there are a lot of very tough journalists and press officers to deal with."
Asked if Emap generally sought the approval of press officers when choosing an editor, he said: "Normally we wouldn’t. There are a couple of powerful people whose opinion we respect. It’s like any industry – people have their favourites." Ecclestone, recently editor of Q4music.com, has written for Q, The Times, FT, The Guardian and NME.