Former Reed duo plan 'irreverent' IT launch

Two former Reed journalists are planning to launch an "irreverent" IT title to cater for readers upset by the closure of Freelance Informer.

The move follows the announcement in November that Reed was to shut the Informer, turn IT Today into a supplement of Computer Weekly and axe 56 jobs across the company.

Steve O’Brien, features editor on IT Today before being made redundant before Christmas, is drawing up plans to launch a monthly title based on a similar concept.

He is negotiating with two potential backers from the IT industry and is convinced the title could work because of its humorous approach to the subject.

"Freelance Informer was hit by movement in display advertising but we still think it has got a big future outside a big co-operation because it doesn’t have any overheads," he told Press Gazette.

"We are going to make sure everyone knows it is the same magazine in essence.

"The reaction to the closure was complete shock. The readers were up in arms as it isn’t like Computer Weekly or Computing. They like to think of it as their own magazine which is why we thought we would try to offer them a stake in the magazine."

The new title will be distributed to IT contractors by controlled circulation, with a likely print run of 15,000.

O’Brien will adopt an editor/

publisher role and is planning to produce the magazine from his Surrey home. He has teamed up with Tim Parker, former art editor of Freelance Informer. The magazine featured lots of contributions from readers but was run mainly by a three-strong editorial team.

O’Brien said its attitude would give it the potential to succeed. Freelance Informer was just as capable of running articles on the history of the condom as it was on giving expert information on the implication of the IR35 legislation, he said.

"I think there is room for more humour and light-heartedness in B2B publishing. I used to work in the IT sector and the first thing people do is look for the fun pages at the back of a magazine.

"A lot of B2B publishers forget people want to be entertained and focus too much on bland info," he said.

By Ruth Addicott

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