Big Issue Magazine to Go UK-wide, Operating out of Glasgow

The weekly news and lifestyle magazine sold by homeless people – The Big Issue – is to have its regional editions amalgamated into a single UK edition, run from Glasgow and with the Scotland editor, Paul McNamee, its editor.

The UK edition will replace separate regional editions covering Scotland, Wales, London, the South-west of England and the rest of England and the first issue will be out next month. There will be regional variations within the content of each issue.

No editorial posts are expected to be lost in Scotland, with some elsewhere in the UK understood to be transferred to an enhanced online presence. There will be magazine editorial presence in both London and Cardiff.

Production and advertising responsibilities are being shifted across to Dennis Publishing, which includes The Week, Men's Fitness Magazine and Maxim in its portfolio. In Scotland, negotiations are ongoing with its four production stuff with a view to them transferring to Dennis.

Paul McNamee was appointed Scotland editor four years ago, having previously been deputy editor for a year. Before that, he was editor of Irish teen mag, Brat, and before that was on the NME in London for several years. He had also worked freelance, including for The Irish Times, the Guardian and the Belfast Telegraph.

He was made Wales editor, in addition to Scotland, three years ago.

The latest set of audited sales figures for the magazine sector had The Big Issue in Scotland at an average 17,583, down 6.6 per cent on 12 months previously. At the recent Scottish Press Awards, the magazine's Adam Forrest was shortlisted in the Magazine Writer of the Year category.  

In a statement issued by the magazine HQ, founder and editor-in-chief, John Bird, is quoted saying: “The decision to amalgamate the regional editions of the magazine and to create one unified UK edition was taken to enable greater efficiency and the best use of our skill set. The move will also free up resources, allowing us to focus of new ventures, including development of a digital platform.”

This year, The Big Issue celebrated its 20th anniversary. Scottish readers aren't likely to notice too much difference between the new, UK-wide edition and what they currently enjoy. McNamee says he expects the UK format will make it easier to plan for longer, more in-depth and investigative journalism.

He told “It's an incredible honour to be able to do this. I am incredibly excited. There hasn't been one single [Big Issue] national magazine before, so it's going to be quite challenging.”