#onlinedating | Fortnight: The must-read political magazine making a comeback | #bumble | #tinder | #pof

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Fortnight

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September’s edition of Fortnight marks the magazine’s 50th anniversary

Fortnight magazine was once such a must-read for Northern Ireland’s political classes that Gerry Adams apparently said “a month without Fortnight would be twice as long”.

In that case the past nine years must have seemed like an eternity for the former Sinn Féin president.

That’s how long its been since the monthly cultural and political magazine was on sale.

But now it’s back to mark what would have been its 50th anniversary and there are plans for more editions in both printed and digital format.

It’s just like old times – though it’s different world since that first edition in September 1970.

The Troubles were in their infancy – there were articles on direct rule, the then Ulster Unionist Stormont minister John Taylor (now Lord Kilclooney) and a new party called the SDLP.

But the big issue of the constitutional question still remains, hence the front page headline: “What Future for Northern Ireland?”

Even the editor is the same: Lawyer Tom Hadden retains his passion for Northern Ireland, even thought he lives in England.

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Tom Hadden is the editor of Fortnight

“John Hume, Gerry Adams, the leading unionist David Trimble, everybody in those days wrote for Fortnight when asked,” he told BBC News NI’s The View programme.

“The main articles in this issue are about how to retain the principles of the Good Friday Agreement, in the event of possible unification or possible joint authority, or just getting things as they are.

“We think it’s important for people to think about these things in advance, rather than rush into a yes-no referendum.”

‘Too slow to go digital’

The relaunched magazine’s literary editor is the daughter of the well-known civil rights activist and politician Paddy Devlin.

Anne Devlin lived most of her earlier life outside Northern Ireland and Fortnight provided a link with home.

“It kept a diary of the events of the past month,” she said.

“So every single detail of the past month, every day, every significant political thing that happened, violent and nonviolent was logged.”

She has recruited several younger writers for the new Fortnight, including sociologist Claire Mitchell.

“The piece for the magazine takes our decision to send our kids to Catholic school as a jumping off point,” said Ms Mitchell.

“That felt culturally adventurous to us because we’re from a Protestant background. We’ve made loads of great friends and have had new experiences but what it really underlined for me is how mixed most people’s everyday lives are.

“People are organising their lives around their kids activities, going into Slimming World, online dating. It’s a world really far removed from big ‘P’ politics and the rot of green and orange.

“I do think there’s a disconnect between the binary structure of our party system in the assembly and how most people are just getting on with their everyday lives.”

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Claire Mitchell is one of the magazine’s new writers

Mr Hadden said one of the reasons Fortnight folded was because it was too slow to go digital.

So can it nose its way back into a crowded market place filled with the likes of the political website Slugger O’Toole?

“I don’t think it can necessarily do what it did back in its heyday,” said Slugger’s deputy editor David McCann.

“It’s going to need something a bit more than that because, for one, people’s views and attention span for longer analysis pieces have shortened since then.

“The other key factor is that I think people, with the advent of social media – and we’ve had to change this on Slugger – want their news, they want immediacy and they want to be able to interact with the news content that’s in front of them.”


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