Jocks&Nerds magazine is back on our shelves, this time unshackled from the restraint of advertisements.
Below is an interview with the Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Marcus Agerman Ross.
What can we expect from the Return of Jocks&Nerds?
Right now there’s a big focus on the new magazine which came out a few weeks ago.
Hopefully the ethos and attitude is still the same as it always was. But some things have changed – most significantly the cover price which is now £25.
The hike in price is because we don’t have any advertising or outside financial support.
The good news in regards to that is no one is trying to control us and no one can influence us in any way.
The truth is all media today is subject to the demands and commercial pressures of advertisers.
This really is a disservice to the readership as it totally dictates not only the tone of the content but the content itself.
Perhaps more important still it is a genuine betrayal to journalism and independent, critical discourse.
I defy any other magazine out there to tell me that they haven’t sold out and are destroying the fundamental principal of our profession.
The truth is publishing has always relied on advertising money to exist but clearly that model no longer works.
Not only do the marketeers feel they have a genuine, legal right to have a hand steering the editorial but, in effect, that money has evaporated so everyone’s business model is changing – and actually not very effectively right now.
Conde Nast have recorded massive losses, Huffpost and Buzzfeed laid off loads of staff earlier this year and the top brass at Vice Media are jumping ship.
So, there is a period currently where products are on the shelf, so to speak, so it looks like the business model works but it is, in fact, a myth.
A lot of really important things are being destroyed in my opinion and no one is doing anything about it.
I’m just a small, singular voice standing up to it all in my own little way. Some people have balked at the price of the magazine which I understand because they are used to magazines being cheaper and also getting content for free today.
But the truth is the amount of content we produce and the quality in which we deliver it means it is really worth much more.
Currently I’m losing money undertaking it but I feel it’s important to keep a light shining, even if it’s only a little glimmer.
Will there be a launch party or have I missed it already?
We did a launch party when we first released the magazine but we aim to do more things. We don’t want to work to the same model as other mags. I always hated the newsstand.
Such a crap environment for something of value and also I never wanted to associate with mags we would be categorised with. Also that whole business of distribution and retail is a total racket.
I could never get sales numbers out of our distributors and there was never any way to verify it.
I’ve heard of retailers telling independent titles that they will keep all the profits too!! And we had to pay a fee to be in WH Smith.
I’d rather keep a handle on it all myself these days. We will probably be doing something in Soho in the next couple of weeks and I’m sure we’ll be doing more.
Will there be any sidearms to the digital format? Podcasts? YouTube shows etc?
Well, we do a monthly radio show on Soho Radio and I also have my own music show on Totally Wired Radio but I’m still a big believer in magazines and that format.
I’ve yet to see people move into these other mediums successfully in terms of real, engaging content. I’m not really a fan of people chasing new formats because they think they have to.
It can be really tough for a small company or a one man band to invest time and energy into these things only for it to be swept away by a new thing.
Anyway, I’m being far more carefree in my attitude towards Jocks&Nerds at this stage.
I’ve already been burnt once trying to retain my values and be a business so right now I’d rather just retain my values and let others decide if they see a value in us.
Will you be taking any submissions or do you have all your staff in place?
I always say that Jocks&Nerds is a collective of like-minded people with a shared desire. Sometimes that manifests in a magazine, sometimes other things – radio, events, creative, etc.
That collective is constantly growing and our door is always open to those people who fully engage in our agenda and want to get on board with it.
What current lifestyle/menswear magazines are doing it right, right now?
The last good menswear magazine before Jocks&Nerds was Arena in the late 1980s.
As I’ve stressed above, magazines are not a good place to find culture or interesting stories – they are just shop windows for their advertisers – so I look elsewhere for my cultural nourishment.
You can find all available stockists for Jocks&Nerds through their website.
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