On this week’s episode, The Book Of Man co-founder Martin Robinson discusses his journey through the UK magazine industry, the need for a space for men to honestly discuss mental health, and plans for podcasts, longform and membership.
In the news roundup we discuss YouTube Music Premium’s place in the market, Twitter’s latest attempt at fixing its troll problem, and whether it’s a good or bad thing that Facebook and Google are now the biggest funders of journalism.
- Third Party Web Content on EU News Sites: Potential Challenges and Paths to Privacy Improvement, via RISJ
- Why we need older women in the workplace, via The Cut
- Google’s selfish ledger is an unsettling glimpse at Silicon Valley social engineering, via The Verge
In our own words: Chris Sutcliffe
The past few years have seen media put an increased focus on male mental health, with advertisements and charity campaigns designed to encourage men to open up about their feelings and mental health concerns. At the same time, society has been rocked by societal flashpoints like the #metoo movement and the public disgrace of powerful men like Harvey Weinstein. The frailty of the male stereotype has been exposed, and toxic masculinity is having a spotlight shone on it.
It was amid all these events that Martin Robinson, long-term magazine industry veteran, took the decision to launch The Book of Man, a site dedicated to exploring those issues and encouraging men to be more open about their personal troubles. He began our discussion by explaining that, having left a high-flying job at Shortlist, he acutely felt the lack of any media dedicated to helping men who are struggling:
“Suddenly I was adrift, and it really got to me. I felt really humiliated and struggled with depression, and went back to my old friend drink quite heavily… I was looking for places I could go to to hear similar voices, and couldn’t really find anywhere. It struck me that men’s media have never really dealt with men’s internal lives.”
His explanation was very open and honest, and set the tone for the rest of our discussion. Martin took me through his plans for the title, its celebrity contributors and how it built, in part, on lessons around audience and engagement he’d learned at the NME and Shortlist, but once the interview was finished it was his point about the lack of provision for men who are struggling that really stuck with me.
There is undoubtedly a problem with how men are depicted in the media, both in the way that it reinforces stereotypes that cause suffering for others, and in the way it fails the men who are suffering themselves. Projects like The Book Of Man provide that safe harbour that has been sorely lacking, and it’s a pleasure to have had Martin on to discuss his plans to address the issues.
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