Disability Now appoints first disabled editor

From Third Sector magazine

Disability Now, the magazine published by Scope, has appointed its first disabled editor. Ian Macrae has been recruited from the BBC, where he was executive producer and editor of the Disability Programmes Unit.

His appointment comes as the magazine, which has a circulation of more than 20,000, relaunches with its first major redesign in 23 years.

Macrae said: "I am delighted to become the first disabled editor of DN, which marks a historic moment for the magazine, and proud to lead a publication that has campaigned so passionately for disabled people’s rights for more than two decades."

The redesign will see the magazine’s website becoming more news-based and the print magazine changing into a lifestyle, features-based publication. The views of disabled people were sought in shaping the new look. The official relaunch takes place on 25 October. Macrae will speak for the first time as editor at the event

From UK Press Gazette

Disability Now magazine has recruited its first disabled editor in its 23 years of publication.

Ian Macrae is the former editor of the disability programmes unit at BBC Television and is blind.

Disability Now is produced by Scope, the organisation which focuses on people with cerebral palsy.

Macrae, whose broadcasting experience spans 25 years, said: “I can talk about the lives of disabled people with a frankness and openness that is easier to do because I am a disabled person myself.”

He said he would welcome approaches from would-be journalists with disabilities to work on the magazine, especially because media has become increasingly tough for disabled people to work within.

“It’s probably more difficult now than in the Nineties,” said Macrae. “When I was at the BBC, we could offer people three-month contracts when they really wanted to get into television but couldn’t get any experience with the independent production companies. Those opportunities don’t exist anymore.”

A Disability Now survey conducted in 2004 found that 80 per cent of NUJ journalists with disabilities were out of work.

Disability Now is to be relaunched on 25 October with a redesign by creative agency Engage Group. It will change size from A3 to A4, with a front section focusing on current affairs and a back section on lifestyle issues such as fashion for wheelchair users.

The magazine’s contents will be entirely available online, but as yet is not formatted for certain disabilities.

Macrae said that if demand for a Braille version existed, the organisation would look at funding it.