Congratulations to Barry McIlheney on his appointment as Chief Executive of the PPA – the association for the “UK’s magazine and business media industry”. I have written before about the really important role that media trade associations have during the current transition from an analogue to a digital networked world.
Barry has a background in consumer magazines and is clearly a very experienced and respected media professional. However, some of the comments made in this Media Week article following his appointment worry me greatly.
“I think this is an excellent appointment. His knowledge of print is second to none and he has a terrific enthusiasm for print.” Evelyn Webster, Chief Executive, IPC
“Barry is an out-and-out print man. He has print running through his veins. I can’t imagine a better ambassador.” Mike Soutar, Chief Executive, ShortList Media
Uh oh? Looks like a concerted campaign here to get back to a ‘periodical publishing’ yesteryear.
While print magazines are still hugely important in the overall mix would you really want to be part of an association with that as its sole focus?
The root cause of the PPA’s problems was an inability to adapt to a changing media landscape. The PPA had a position as the association for the business of media. This position was lost through its dogged concentration on one channel as their member firms’ businesses diversified.
I sincerely hope that the board of the PPA haven’t compounded this mistake.
Until we have heard from Barry directly I’ll hold judgement on his appointment (it’s interesting that the news hasn’t even made the PPA website).
The signs don’t look too promising to me I’m afraid.
Postcript 22/01 – in the comments below Andy Cook from the PPA points out that the news was posted on the PPA’s website – under the press release section. Apologies Andy, I missed it.
Postcript 2 25/01 – Barry has (indirectly) responded to this post in the comments below.
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- Rory Brown: Is the PPA too focused on print? (blogs.journalism.co.uk)
- Jonathan Shepherd leaves PPA (guardian.co.uk)
- McIlheney named PPA chief executive (guardian.co.uk)