Craig Wilson is the new editor of Stuff Magazine, South Africa’s premier consumer technology publication. At the same time, Brett Venter has been appointed digital editor and will oversee the publication’s website and digital channels. Jon Tullett joins the team as associate editor. All three appointments are effective from 1 March 2016.
Wilson has been Stuff’s deputy editor since November 2014, a position he previously held at TechCentral for two years. He is a frequent media commentator on television (eNCA, Tech Report, Business Day TV) and radio (Talk Radio 702, CapeTalk, Yfm, Jacaranda FM, PowerFM, MetroFM and Classic FM).
Toby Shapshak, who’s served as editor since he launched Stuff in South Africa eight years ago, 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.”
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.”
Wilson says: “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.
“I’m ecstatic at being entrusted with the role of growing Stuff’s reach even further, getting to introduce people to life-improving technology in the process and, hopefully, reducing the prevalence of buyer’s remorse,” Wilson adds. “I can’t think of a better person to do this with than Stuff’s digital editor, the inimitable and hilarious Brett Venter.”
“I can’t speak highly enough of Brett,” says Shapshak, echoing Wilson’s sentiments. “He’s one of the country’s finest gaming and tech journalists, a published fiction writer and is brilliantly funny. Brett understands digital media like no one else; and is the driving force behind the irreverent sense of humour that permeates Stuff’s website and social media channels.”
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 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. Along with Venter, he has been responsible for the enormous growth in Stuff’s digital footprint over the last few years and for ensuring Stuff’s readers and clients alike enjoy the sort of experience they’ve come to expect from the country’s leading consumer tech title.
“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.”
Technology editor Jon Tullett joins the Stuff stable as an associate editor. Tullett has been a technology journalist and editor for two decades, working in South Africa, Europe and the Middle East. Most recently, he was senior editor and analyst at ITWeb.
“Toby and his team have done a great job establishing Stuff as an indispensable information resource in South Africa,” Tullett says. “I’m looking forward to contributing to the team.”
Shapshak says: “The last eight years have seen monumental changes in the tech world with the rise of the smartphone, the decline in PC sales, the emergence of tablets and the app economy, the exponential growth and importance of social media, and the myriad developments in how we use and interact with our tech.”
“Stuff’s reflected these changes. From being mostly about gear and gadgets the publication is now about explaining this brave new digital world. It’s still about giving you ‘everything you want to know about everything you want’, but it’s also about how tech can make your life, and those of the people around you, better.”