Toby Shapshak has handed over the editorial reins at Stuff Magazine South Africa some eight years after launching the magazine in South Africa.
Taking his place at the helm of the tech publication is Craig Wilson, who has been Stuff‘s deputy editor since November 2014, a position he previously held at Techcentral for two years.
At the same time, Brett Venter has been appointed digital editor and will oversee the publication’s website and digital channels. Jon Tullett, formerly of ITWeb, joins the team as associate editor. All three appointments are effective from 1 March 2016.
Shapshak will continue as publisher for the Stuff group and becomes the editor-in-chief of what are now two distinct publications.
“The future of publishing is certainly digital, but there remains a strong attraction to print in South Africa,” Shapshak says. “We’re one of the few print titles that’s seen growth in our readership over the last year and we look forward to growing that audience even further. At the same time, our digital channels are growing strongly, so we’re renewing our focus on our online presence and on mobile devices.”
On the decision to appoint Wilson as editor, Shapshak says: “Craig is an excellent journalist and thoroughly deserves this promotion. He brings a freshness and energy to his job that’s both heartening and refreshing.
“He is as comfortable working in print as he is on radio or television. His visual literacy, photographic skills and interest in all things digital makes him precisely the sort of multifaceted, multimedia journalist who should be at the helm of Stuff as it navigates the challenges facing all contemporary publications. Also, he dresses better than I do. And he’s more punctual.”
According to a press release sent to Memeburn, Shapshak will continue to be closely involved in the day-to-day operations of Stuff’s print and digital publications but will focus more heavily on the strategic and financial aspects of the business; along with fellow director and Stuff business manager, Sally Hudson.
“Stuff is one of only seven consumer magazines out of 207 that saw an increase in the second half of 2015, according to the latest Audit Bureau of Circulation figures,” Hudson says. “The market is down by 8% and under extreme pressure. Despite this Stuff has enjoyed slight growth, showing that there remains demand for the brand, and our brand of journalism. Meanwhile, page views on the Stuff.co.za site have increased 74% over the last year.”
According to Wilson, “what sets Stuff apart from other tech publications is its focus on the experiential. That, and pop culture-laden wisecracks. Stuff readers know they can get specifications anywhere, but they come to us for our frank and irreverent take on what it’s actually like to use the phones, tablets, laptops, TVs, appliances, wearables and cars that are becoming indispensable parts of our daily lives. Stuff calls a ‘soil-redistribution implement’ a spade. It’s what our readers expect from us.
Venter says he’s proud to have been involved with Stuff’s website since “before it was Stuff’s website, and of having watched it grow from just a handful of visitors a week to the thousands of daily visitors we now have today”.
“I’ll be doing my utmost to see that the next couple of years of growth are just as impressive,” Venter adds. “And, if Toby wants me to continue to be Stuff’s resident internet troll, I’m okay with that too.”
Nic Boerma, formerly editor of PC Format and Stuff‘s managing editor for several years, continues as Stuff’s digital publisher.
“There’s no other brand in the world like Stuff,” says Boerma. “Its creators and readers are passionate about technology and novelty – two subjects that have no editorial ceiling. It’s a brand you can’t help but be attracted to, and that’s before you meet the personalities behind it.”