We’ve done it! The first issue of the new-look New Internationalist is back from the printer and should be dropping onto our readers’ doormats, or into their shopping baskets, any day now. So I can finally unveil some of the changes we’ve made…
How is it different? Well, it’s more topical, more interactive and has a wider range of articles in it. With a third more pages, larger font size and a fresh, more open design it is, we hope, a more appealing read.
Work on the changes began over a year ago as we started to consult with readers, and that consultation will continue. So, please do let us know what you think. We can take it, honestly.
Don’t worry though. One of the most common comments we received from our readers was that we shouldn’t ‘dumb down’, and we won’t, of course. The magazine will continue to cover the biggest social and environmental challenges facing the world today, and give the in-depth independent analysis we’re so well respected for.
But, without compromising our integrity, we will deliver this through a series of new sections.
A monthly debate, Argument, will inject some of the magazine’s feisty spirit into a range of contentious issues, such as, in this relaunch issue (October), the trade in human organs. The debate has just gone live, so please have a look, leave a comment, and a selection of the best reader comments will appear in next month’s printed magazine. I’m currently moderating a debate around ‘whether ethical wealth is a contradiction in terms’ for the December issue, and we are hoping to sneak a very lively head-to-head on whether public sector spending cuts are really justified into the November issue of the mag. If there are debates you’d like to see us run, let us know.
The Analysis section will give a thoughtful, in-depth treatment to specific topics, with contributions from highly respected writers and thinkers from around the world. October focuses on the sorry state of democracy in the world today, and suggests ways that it can be revitalised, with contributions from Tony Benn, Caroline Lucas and Robert Fisk. It also tells the extraordinary story of Arundhati Roy’s battles with the Indian authorities.
An expanded Arts section will review international music, books, film and performance. If naked performance art, wireless guitar shoes and jackets that turn into tents appeal to you then you’ll love this month’s profile of the explosively energetic Chicks on Speed.
The upbeat Alternatives section will highlight success stories and hopefully help us all to live more lightly on the earth, and Applause will celebrate the people making change happen - this month, focusing on the people behind the Nestle boycott.
Important upcoming global events are highlighted in the forward-looking Agenda section, and the Action section provides detailed events listings so that everyone can get involved.
A prize goes to the first person to spot the common thread running through all those new sections…!
And last, but certainly not least, we have the wonderful Benjamin Zephaniah waxing lyrical on what inspires him, what he most regrets, and the general inadequacies of twitter. And next month we have persuaded one of my personal heroines Margaret Atwood to talk to us!
So we hope you’ll get hold of a copy of the magazine, and that you’ll like what we’ve done. And if you do, please encourage your friends to check us out too.