As 2006 draws to a close, I'll just take a moment to mention and acknowledge a fairly major change of circumstances for me (one of many I could add, all good.) As of February 2007, I'll be leaving the BBC and starting as Director of Web and Broadcast at Monocle.
Here's the concept, taken from the pre-launch Monocle website:
"We believe it's time for a new, global, European-based media brand. With a keen focus, strong reporting, sharp wit and more classic approach to design, we’ve dubbed our venture Monocle. At the core there's a monthly magazine delivering the most original coverage in global affairs, business, culture and design. Alongside, there's a web-based broadcast component covering the same areas through a variety of bulletins, mini-documentaries and talk formats. Focused on informing and entertaining an international audience of disillusioned readers, listeners and viewers, it is our intention to create a community of the most interested and interesting people in the world."
"Edited out of London, Monocle is staffed by a team pulled from the world's leading news outlets, magazines and broadcasters. Conceived by Wallpaper* founder and Financial Times columnist Tyler Brûlé, the launch team calls on some of his old alumni and new talent from The Independent, the BBC, branches of Condé Nast and a host of other news outlets. Versed in politics, popular culture, business affairs, media, architecture and design, the editorial team will cover the world from its London hub and dedicated bureaux in Tokyo, Zürich and New York. Monocle will be driven by offering original, never-before-seen content to an audience of well-heeled, intelligent opinion leaders around the world."
So I'll be in charge of that "web-based broadcast component", helping create innovative, distinctive web and broadcast companions to the magazine, which aim to have all the quality, confidence and professionalism of that print incarnation of Monocle, whilst taking advantage of their own inherent strengths. I've seen the magazine emerge over the last few months and believe me, it's going to be really bloody good. Seeing magazine professionals in action is somewhat awe-inspiring - you realise that the last hundred years or so of development has honed that process to both fine art and streamlined technique - and we'll have to be quick out of the blocks in early February to start creating a suitable array of digital cohorts.
If you're familiar with cityofsound, you'll note that the broad content offering covers a great range of personal interests, from architecture and design through cities and culture via business and current affairs. If plans develop in the right directions throughout 2007, I hope to be contributing content as well as orchestrating the infrastructure, particularly focusing on Oceania, but that's another story ... First steps involve thinking through how magazines, broadcast and web can play off each other in creative, harmonious and meaningful fashion. Initially that will mean a fair bit of wireframing in Omnigraffle, whilst sketching idents for the short-form documentaries we'll be commissioning and working out a production schedule ... Wish me luck. It's going to be fascinating, and I'm very excited about the chance to help create a ground-breaking product of such quality and distinction.
I will of course miss the BBC hugely, especially the team I've built up over the five years I've been there. I'm proud of the good work we've accomplished and I'll miss every one of the good people I've had the privilege of working with. One could always achieve more, but I see the platforms emerging, the thinking changing positively, and some imaginative, progressive strategies in place, being implemented by some great people. More on all that to follow, but I think the old place is in pretty good shape, and I wish it all the best.
But there's always a time to move on. Queries to do with the new project should be mailed to dh [at] monocle dot com; stuff for the blog is still via the email address in the right-hand column.