Parentwise gives birth to new BBC Parenting

BBC Magazines has closed its newly acquired parenting title Parentwise and replaced it with a new magazine, BBC Parenting.

BBC Magazines acquired Parentwise from small independent publisher Family Titles in the spring. It is hoping BBC Parenting will reach a wider audience with fresh investment and a new monthly frequency.

The move has led to a staff shake-up involving editor Rachel Sykes, who has accepted the role of deputy.

Stephanie Cooper, a former editor of BBC Magazines’ youth and children’s titles, is to take her place as editor. Sara Ramsbottom has moved across from BBC Radio Times as art editor. Features editor Susannah Pearce will remain in place along with managing director Pamela Janson-Smith.

Asked about the change of editor, Janson-Smith said: “Rachel joined us from college. She is fantastic and we were desperate not to lose her, but we needed that extra bit of experience.”

BBC Parenting will have a wider remit than Parentwise, which launched last August and was aimed at fathers. The intention was to fill a gap in the men’s parenting market and attract parents with children aged from nine months to nine years. The age range has now been extended with the new title aimed at parents of children aged one to 12.

The 132-page title will carry 16 pages of fashion coverage and features on celebrity parents, as well as education, childcare, family relationships, gardening and food. It will have a print run of 100,000, compared with Parentwise’s 20,000, and cost 20p less at £2.70.

A number of the BBC’s own correspondents will appear in the title, including foreign correspondents George Alagiah and Rageh Omaar.

Jeremy Clarkson’s wife, Francie, has been signed up to cover motoring and Ian Hislop’s wife Victoria is among the regular contributors.

Janson-Smith said the changes were likely to lead to a bigger team and there was a “strong possibility” more full-time staff would be recruited once the launch was under way.

“It is going to be a more challenging magazine,” she said. “We have completely rebuilt it and gone back to the drawing board.”

According to the BBC, the launch will be the UK’s only parenting title aimed at that audience, since most existing titles are for parents of babies.

Janson-Smith said there would also be more space allocated to readers’ letters.

“We want to connect more with the readers,” she said.

BBC Parenting will be published from the same office as Parentwise in Brixton. The first issue will hit news-stands on 11 September.

By Ruth Addicott

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