Q. How do you reinvigorate a 98 year-old mag for the digital age? A. Hire a 29 year-old former Facebook exec

Earlier this week the New Republic, the 98 year-old magazine referred to above, relaunched its website. Publisher Chris Hughes — 29 and formerly of Facebook — had some pretty sensible things to say about the marriage of old and new media. Such as:

For us, we’re not trying to compete with The New York Times or The Huffington Posts of the world to get that first dash of the headlines in the morning. Where you’re much more likely to read The New Republic is at lunch, in the evenings, on the weekends — the moments when you want to try and go a little bit deeper and get some context and analysis on the journalism of the day.

I first blogged about it on the Press Gazette. And you can read and listen to the NPR interview from which the above comes here.

Apple must deliver new subscribers or publishers will walk (and six other thoughts)

I spent this morning at DCM Europe, 40 minutes of which was on a panel discussing pricing models, magazine publishing and tablet computers. In a (possibly failed) effort to marshal my thoughts, I wrote this yesterday — seven random arguments on the tablet opportunity.

Here are those seven thoughts — and even after a pretty robust discussion, I still believe they have a fair amount of merit:

1. The free trial might be the nearest publishers get to freemium

2. The games console model might just work for apps

3. Publishers want to own the relationship with their readers

4. Apple must deliver new subscribers or publishers will walk

5. Responsive design is an opportunity and a threat to paywalled tablet content

6. Android is a good medium term bet

7. The Daily was a success story. Sort of

You can read the full article over at the Press Gazette.

‘Hunter Davies is away’

And when he is, I get to write The Fan column in the New Statesman. Here’s the opening to the piece that appeared in last week’s issue where I crudely draw a line from a comic book character of the late 1970s to modern day fans paying £62 for a seat to watch their team playing away. Oh, yes…

You can learn a lot about modern-day football from those comic strips of the 1970s and 1980s. No, really. Not from the idealism of Roy Race (of Roy of the Rovers) but from the pragmatism of the lesser known Jon Stark.

Nomadic and mercenary, Stark appeared in the short-lived Scoop comic and was dubbed a “footballer of the future”. He’d pick up £250 per goal and a £1,000 match fee if his team won. He was a no win, no fee footballer.

OK, so those numbers require a few more noughts at the end and that “no win, no fee” bit has clearly been rethought but as a proto-modern footballer, Stark was pretty near the mark. I’m not talking about the full-length leather jacket, the checked flares or the mullet that was more Alan Biley (Google him) than Marouane Chamakh (and him) but rather the attitude of the 21st-century player.

Continue reading….