Out with the old

18 April 2013

Ian Clay, a former IP&E editor shares with us some of his memories of life at Western Business Publishing

Ian Clay joined IP&E in 1997, an event he describes as ‘something of a culture shock’.

"I had been working for Nexus Media, which was a large and forward-thinking publishing house that used Desk Top Publishing and Quark Express, a relatively new but ground-breaking publishing software package.

"On my first day at IP&E I was confronted by the ‘editorial office’ which contained some word processer/data entry type computers but nothing like the Apple Mac-dominated environment I had come from. However, being young and adaptable, I remember not being concerned. It was all publishing – just with different technology.

"But, as well as old technology there was old thinking and inefficient practices which had to change to bring the magazine, particularly its look and feel, up-to-date. The editor when I joined was a publishing legend named Karl Lacy, a man never short of an opinion. He was brilliant, experienced, funny, cantankerous, endearing, maddening and a huge influence on many trade journalists who worked with him.

"Karl was brought up in the publishing era of hot metal and galleys and proofs, and was unused to the aesthetic possibilities, speed and flexibility that DTP promised. However, to his credit, he allowed us ‘youngsters’ to have our heads and we introduced Macs and Quark to the editorial and production offices, although he refused to use the technology himself.

"I became editor of IP&E after just a year of joining the magazine. Karl moved on to launch other magazines for IP&E’s publishers but kept an eye on what we were doing to his magazine from a distance, occasionally popping his head around the door to congratulate or berate the occupants. On the rare occasion he offered praise, you knew it was hard earned and well deserved!

"With the new technology and the excellent people employed on all fronts we increased the frequency of the publication from four to six times per year and added supplements.

"After nearly seven years in the editor’s chair I look back on my time at IP&E with much affection. It was hard work, but the magazine became well-respected for offering a huge quantity of editorial information with a good mix of features and articles.”

• Ian Clay is now a director at Technical Publicity ( He still pitches regularly to IP&E’s editorial staff on behalf of his clients.