Introducing… London Reconnections Magazine

Those of you who have attended our meetups will know that for some time now we have been working on something new and special behind the scenes. Something that we’re now finally able to publicly launch – London Reconnections Magazine.

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Nothing changes online

Before talking a bit more about what we’ve launched, I feel it’s important to make something very clear – nothing is changing about how we run the site. Our commitment to writing good, independent transport commentary, history and analysis online remains the same. As does our commitment to making everything available online for free.

For the last year, though, we have been working on a way to address a couple of potential challenges LR faces and we feel this is it.

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Fit for the future

As all good transport planners know, it is important to look beyond the now to what risks your infrastructure faces in future. And right now LR has a rather large single point of failure – me.

That failure point exists because our commitment to keeping the site advert free means that all the associated costs of running it are currently shouldered by myself – everything from site and image hosting, to backup and security services, to image licensing, to research materials, and a whole bunch of other things.

As we’ve grown over the last nine years – there are now over one hundred thousand of you who read this site in an average month – those costs have also grown. They’ll also continue to grow, as our goal is to ensure that this site always presents its information in the most professional and accessible way possible, and to make sure it is backed up for future generations.

There are also “hidden” costs like web development which are locked up in my person, as I’m a web professional as well as a journalist.

None of those things are a problem for LR now. I’m immensely proud of what we have created here and remain as committed to LR today – if not more so – than when we launched. But if I were run over by a Routemaster tomorrow then LR might die too, and that cannot happen.

A way to support us and get something in return

And so the idea of LR Magazine was born. A way of enabling people to support this website financially whilst getting something in return.

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Buy a subscription to LR magazine and not only will you help us build up a financial framework that’ll keep this site going from strength to strength, but you will also get an absolutely gorgeous, perfect bound magazine in return.

Indeed even if the print subscription is out of your price range, then you can subscribe to the DRM-free PDF digital version (print subscribers also get the digital version for free).

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What you get

Published every other month, LR Magazine represents a combination of two types of content:

  • “Best of the web” articles drawn from previous months or the archive.
  • A number of timed exclusives – articles that have yet to appear on the site.

Those timed exclusives are our way of saying “thank you” for your support. They’ll never be articles that are time-sensitive, of course, as those should always run on the site as soon as they are ready. They will, however, be interesting.

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This month, for example, we launch with an “Exit Interview” with Sir Peter Hendy, a history of roads and their relationship to the capital and a look at how TfL’s strategy on devolution is evolving.

All these articles will run on the site in September, in addition to our regular content – meaning we’ll be publishing more content, for free online going forward not less. But anyone who buys or subscribes will get to read them first.

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It also, finally means that we have something to offer people and companies who don’t want to read articles like ours online. I asked our magazine designer to create a transport magazine that people would be happy to be caught reading on the Tube, or give to their friends or have in their office. As the images here (and in the shop) show, she has delivered this and more.

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Oh, and if you’re a regular commentor and subscribe using the same email address under which you comment, you’ll also get a little star next to your name – a little bit silly, we know, but another small way for us to thank you for your support.

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Sponsor an issue

It’s not just readers who can benefit from the magazine either. In each issue we’ll be offering a limited number of spaces for those whose products or roles is relevant to both transport in general and the contents of the issue in particular to advertise. This helps us cover things like distribution and keep the cover price as low as possible whilst not compromising on quality.

In this regard, our thanks go out to Transport for London, Crossrail and asset management specialists Gaist who have all supported us with Issue One. That such high profile organisations were keen to feature shows just how well thought of we are, and how highly they think of our readers. Anyone looking to be involved in future can email us at [email protected] for more information.

Opportunities to do more

The hope is that ultimately the magazine will do more than just cover existing costs. Some of you, who have met me in person, will have heard me talk about transport images I have found locked away in the archives of various image libraries. Images that are too niche for it to have been financially worthwhile for other sources to unlock, but which we would love to make public.

There are also, bizarre as it may sound, some companies and organisations that still won’t talk to us because they don’t see us as a serious source of information. Being in print will help open those doors.

There are other ideas we have too – lecture series we’d love to finance, for example, and a lot more. With enough support, we could do all that.

The journey continues

And so, LR continues to grow and, with your help, in a way that helps ensure a long and productive future. We’re enormously proud of what we do online, and are very excited about what we have now produced for print. If you like either of those things, we hope that you will subscribe – and indeed encourage friends, colleagues or even employers to subscribe where you feel it would be of interest to them.

Thank you, as always, for reading. Here’s to the next nine years and beyond!

John Bull
August, 2015.

Written by John Bull