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Magazines interview

[NewsMaker:] Robbie Stammers

In an oft-maligned media industry battered by extreme change in recent years, it is always extremely exciting to greet a new magazine launch, particularly in print. One of South Africa's most awarded editors and publishers, Robbie Stammers, announced last week that he is bringing America's 'Magazine of the Year' and one of the most innovative business publications in the world, to South Africa: Fast Company
Stammers is a former editor of Leadership magazine and the publishing editor of Insights Publishing, which publishes The Intrepid Explorer, the official magazine for Cape Union Mart and the annual Who's Who magazine for the Cape Town International Jazz Festival 2015. He is joined at the helm of Fast Company SA, which will be launched in October with 20,000 copies through all major retail outlets, by Editor Evans Manyonga.

Fast Company was launched in 1995 by two former Harvard Business Review editors and has a total circulation of 800,000 in the US, with a readership of over 3 million. It recently also launched an edition in China. Innovation and creativity are at the heart of the magazine content, and Fast Company motivates readers to think beyond traditional boundaries, to lead proactively and, most importantly, to embrace change.

[NewsMaker:] Robbie Stammers
click to enlarge
Commented Stammers: "Fast Company is all about a younger, new breed of innovative and creative thought leaders who are actively inventing the future of business - and the timing of this type of magazine is perfect for the South African market."

He went on to say that Fast Company is not just another business magazine.

"It is a brand that encompasses business, technology, creative input and output and is mostly about innovation, across the broadest of spectrums. It is a 'movement more than a magazine'. Fast Company's ethos flies in the face of your 'normal' business titles.

"It is a magazine is for the people who make business work. It's smart, tough, personal, and rewarding, just like business is today. It chronicles the changes in how business competes; highlights the practices that shape how work gets done; and showcases the people, teams, products, and ideas that make a company fast. Business does not need to be boring."

While Stammers believes the South African media market is in a rather fragile place right now, this means that it needs more care and respect during this episode of constant change, as well as innovative and creative thinking.

Stammers is also a fervent proponent of print.

"Print is NOT dead! I am so sick and tired of reading the doomsayers that say the opposite. The trick is to make sure that you cover the other bases as well: your title must also have a strong digital publication, along with print. There is also a big future in reaching an audience via mobile. We (the media) need to look at ourselves now as content providers across many different mediums."

About ROBBIE STAMMERS

Robbie Stammers has been in the magazine industry for two decades. He has won almost every publishing and editorial award in South Africa for the magazines he has published, from consumer to custom to B2B publications - 15 in total, including Editor of the Year twice. Most recently, he won Best Editor in the Customer magazine category (PICA's 2013) with his new magazine, The Intrepid Explorer, and a highly commended award in the Launch/Relaunch category. Stammers also co-runs RuggaBugga Entertainment that produces Springbok rugby DVD's on behalf of the SA Rugby Union. He recently got married and has two kids and three dogs.


Q: What is at the top of your to do list?
A:
To make Fast Company South Africa the biggest and best title in the country!

Q: What are your next media goals?
A:
We have our work cut out for us on Fast Company SA so we will crawl and walk before we decide to run, but with that said, we have some massive plans on the mobile and digital publishing side and Fast Company have some incredible events in the USA, which we would like to emulate in year two locally.

Q: Most important attribute needed to do your job?
A:
Tough question. Probably insight. Hence why we are called Insights Publishing. In an ever-changing media landscape, I think one needs to be insightful and try keep one step ahead of the pack. Our company byline is also important, which is 'Engage. Enrich. Entice' - those are the three important attributes one needs to keep your audience reading.

Q: How would you describe your professional persona?
A:
I am relaxed, yet I am very focused and expect the same from my team. Above all, work should be fun; work should not be 'work'.

Q: What inspires you?
A:
Great content. I am a firm believer that content is King.

Q: What do you do for fun?
A:
I love the outdoors. Hiking or bodysurfing. Spending time with my family and friends, who are very dear to me. I love game viewing and getting away for weekends. Sitting around the braai. Watching rugby and drinking wine. Life is too short to drink bad wine.

Q: What else is on your bucket list?
A:
The Inca Trail in Peru; Antarctica; and watching the migration in the Serengeti would be up there. One day finally writing THAT novel, learning the guitar and Xhosa. And finally it would be great to follow in the footsteps of Fast Company in the USA, and win the local equivalent of 'Magazine of the Year' here!
    
 

About Louise Marsland

Louise Marsland is publishing editor of TRENDAFRiCA.co.za and a journalist, columnist, trainer and speaker in the media, marketing and advertising industry in South Africa, and a specialist in B2B media. Email her on , read her at www.trendafrica.co.za and follow her on Twitter at @Louise_Marsland.
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