By Alasdair Crosby, editor RURAL magazine, the RURAL website and RURAL POST e-mail newsletter
When asked that question, I generally answer, so as to give a brief reply: ‘Well, it’s the Jersey equivalent of Country Life, except we don’t do Girls in Pearls and we aren’t kept afloat by the estate agency sector’.
At the very core of Jersey is its farming and its breathtakingly lovely countryside, and these remain at the very core of the magazine, as does the importance of maintaining a sense of local community in the modern globalised world.
For the magazine, the very least of our problems is finding sufficient article subjects to fill up the pages – a lot happens in Jersey and, as we know, out of Jersey comes always something new! If we could afford it, we would go to press at least once a month… except I think my team and I would find that just a bit too exciting.
Would-be contributors propose perfectly good article ideas to me, and I have to say to them: ‘That sounds interesting. We might be able to fit it into the Winter 2024 edition.’ Which is not quite what they want to hear, of course.
So, to cheer them up, I continue: ‘Well, there is always room on the website’ – and their faces fall even further, as a website always seems more ephemeral than a printed magazine.
So, as a birthday present to ourselves, we have revamped the website and the e-mail newsletter, RURAL POST which provides links to it. It is now truly ‘born again’.
It is not a carbon copy of RURAL magazine nor is it a poor relation of it. I trust its own personality will become apparent in this and future editions of the newsletter.
In the printed magazine we do not often accept contributions from outside the Island, unless they have something pertinent – or impertinent, even – to say about a subject that is of interest to Islanders.
Certainly, we never, as a matter of strict principle, have generic articles that are downloaded from the Internet and which can be found in a myriad other publications.
However, on our new website, we shall have the room to contain articles for which we don’t have room in the printed magazine. I have also been in touch with a number of contacts from across the water who write interestingly on subjects that would be of interest to Islanders and who have kindly agreed to contribute to it.
So the website will have more of the feel of an on-line magazine. – but think Economist or ‘Spectator’ in style rather than Hello magazine.
And so, to answer the question: what is RURAL? As we said ten years ago in the very first issue:
‘How Jersey’s local countryside, local culture, local community and local heritage can remain intact in today’s modern world should always be a theme to engage our attention and be a subject for debate, lest we forget… the local and the particular and so lose a precious inheritance.
‘To this debate, we hope that RURAL magazine and its associated magazine can at least make some useful contribution.’