Launch team axed as PR Business goes monthly

PR Business has made its launch editorial team redundant following its decision to go monthly.

Publisher Geoff Lace confirmed that PR Business editor Eirwen Oxley Green, reporter Ana Santi and up to six office staff have been made redundant from the five-month-old weekly magazine — set up as a rival to PR Week — following the decision to go monthly.

Lace said: "I don't think it succeeded as a weekly, so the idea is for it to go monthly. It was very difficult to sell advertising in the market."

The publisher declined to comment on future plans for the title.

At its launch in March, PR Business was heralded as a serious contender to Haymarket's PR Week. Lace set up PR Week in 1984, which was then bought by Haymarket in 1988.

The title is distributed to members of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, whose director general, Colin Farrington, was criticised by PR Business editor Oxley Green for his attitude to blogs in her last editor's letter for the magazine.

Farrington rejected claims that the CIPR had pulled its support for the magazine and said the institute originally lent its support to the weekly proposition on a three-month trial basis. Farrington added that a decision was made to continue that support before the magazine announced Oxley Green's departure. He said: "Editorially we don't need to agree on everything — it was a sufficiently quality weekly to make our database available."

On the proposed changes, Farrington added: "I think PR Business didn't have enough time to settle in and establish its own tone and its own voice, but the fundamental issue was one of advertising.

Most people can understand that, because hard copy advertising is not something that's growing and is in many ways declining.

"A monthly magazine is more reflective and more issues-based and less focused on news. They seem to be confident they can get the advertising and circulation to support that and I obviously wish them well in that. It's very much a matter for their own investors whether that's going to happen."

The publication was late in launching its website, which only became operational three months after the print publication debuted.

PR Business columnist Antony Mayfield said the magazine was too oldfashioned to survive in a multimedia environment, but that an online publication supported by a print edition would still be possible.

Mayfield said: "I think [PR Business's] strategy was more suited to the 1980s or '90s than this decade. The investment in its design and online came too late."

He added: "There is a growing crowd of professionals online: blogging, reading and discussing their profession with one another. They are leaving their trade publications behind them in some sectors — a trend which will continue."

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