Icon editor suspended for writing book?

The editor of design magazine Icon has been suspended from the title, allegedly for writing a book.

Publisher Media 10 has confirmed that Icon editor Marcus Fairs has been put on gardening leave, but refused to respond to allegations that the editor was suspended because of his book launch. Publisher Daren Newton told Press Gazette he would not comment on the matter because of ongoing legal proceedings. But according to several well-placed sources, Fairs ran into trouble after publication of his first book, Twenty-First Century Design, lat month.

The alleged cause for suspension has raised concern in the industry where journalists are regularly asked to contribute to other titles and publish their own material. Other Icon journalists have already published their own titles.

Newton declined to confirm if the magazine's staff contracts included stipulations preventing outside work.

Amanda Baillieu, editor of Building Design, CMPi's weekly paper for architects, said: "I've never heard of that before. It's accepted if you are a specialist editor or editing a magazine in a specialist sector such as interiors or architecture you will be asked to write books. You obviously don't write every book you are asked to do but it's good for the brand and the magazine. It's good to see that the editor is out there and it can do nothing but good. It strikes me as very odd that a publisher would object."

Another senior industry figure said: "Most publishers would be proud of you doing this, and I believe other people on the team have published previously, and that was fine."

Fairs started work in architecture reporting on Building Design, working his way up from news reporter to news editor before moving to Building magazine as architectural editor and then assistant editor. Media 10 recruited him to head up the Icon launch in April 2003.

Fairs was nominated in the Magazine Journalism Awards for interviewer of the year, but did not attend the event, held last Thursday, with the magazine's staff. He is also nominated for BSME editor of the year in the specialist magazine category.

Icon launched in April 2003 as a major international design and architecture magazine and previously won best-designed B2B magazine and best use of typography at the Magazine Design Awards. Media 10 has since launched a sister title, Grand Designs.

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