Friday 23 August 2019

Bad tidings; it is the end of the World of Hibernia

THE decimation of the Irish magazine world continues apace. Publishing genius Kevin Kelly and his son Mark seem to be genuinely grieving for the loss of World of Hibernia (WOH), their high-end American glossy about all things Irish that folded last month.

Kelly poured what he will only say is "a substantial sum" into the magazine over six years or so, but it simply never took off according to his son. In fact, the Kellys's losses were into the millions, but a combination of foot-and-mouth, the American recession and, eventually, September 11 finally killed it off for good.

Mark, who had taken Hibernia over for the last year in a last-ditch attempt to save it, has now come home to become associate publisher of Checkout, the grocery trade mag which is one of Kelly's bread-and-butter publications. WOH has filed for Chapter 7 in the US, which means that everything is now in the hands of the lawyers.

Including, it would seem, payments to freelancers, one of whom got on to Liveline on Monday to crib that she hadn't got her cash. Young Mark came on to defend WOH, saying that as much as the poor freelance was a victim, the Kellys were the real victims as they had never got the support they should have had from Irish advertisers and they'd lost much more.

While Joe Duffy gamely tried to draw connections between Kelly's other ventures like Checkout and Image publications, Mark was very clear that WOH was an independent entity and the poor freelancer would have to queue up with all the other creditors to retrieve her few hundred quid when the spoils were divided out. Meanwhile, any truth in the rumour that another Dublin publisher is considering buying In Dublin as a going concern and ultimately taking out the 'Dublin' and relaunching it as In, a magazine for men?

Brendan O'Connor

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