This is the one hundred and fiftieth Webmag. Almost without exception, Children Webmag has been published on the first of the month since January 2000. That means that it has been going for twelve and a half years, or half a generation, or an eighth of a century, if you take the long view. In the history of the internet that is a long time.
Thinking of children, the world population has gone up from roughly six billion to roughly seven billion during the lifetime of this magazine, and if one takes account of people who have died, the number of children born since our first edition must be well over a billion. There is clearly still a lot to be done in the field of parenting and child care.
Till now we have produced monthly issues, partly as a way of organising material for the ease of the Editor and partly so that subscribers receive regular information but, we hope, not so frequently that it is irritating.
The Board has decided to take a different approach from 1 July 2012. Articles received by the Webmag will be processed in the same way, but they will be published as they come in, rather than grouped in monthly issues. This is more in keeping with the immediate nature of the internet, and we hope that dialogue with readers will increase.
The title of this Editorial, All Change?, is not quite correct. The values and principles of the Webmag (laid out in last month’s Editorial) will continue to be upheld. We shall still be publishing. We shall still be wanting people to contribute, and subscribers will continue to be informed from time to time about the latest articles.
It is, however, a significant turning point, and it is therefore appropriate to use the opportunity to thank people.
The Webmag Board all work voluntarily and their support has been invaluable. Especial mention should be made of the Chair, Dr Keith White, who has not only chaired and led the Board and the Webmag Operations Team but has also contributed a brilliant regular column. Valerie Jackson, another Board member, has written many book reviews and fascinating articles, especially on early years and education. Mike Jones has acted as Treasurer and together with Gill Wilton they have sought funding for the Webmag. Other Board members in recent years have been Maureen O’Hagan, Charlie Rice, Chris Durkin and Angie Bartoli; thanks are due to all of them for their support.
In the early years of the Webmag Bill Stevenson was the Production Manager, and he helped overcome the teething troubles back in 2000, as well as inserting corny jokes. Jeremy Curtis has overseen the production since 2005, assisted for a while by Chris Cox and more recently by his son, Josh. They have been responsible for occasional design work as well as the ongoing production, and they have done an excellent job on a shoestring.
Major thanks are due to all the contributors. Over the years, several hundred people must have written for the Webmag, and by now we estimate that there must have been about 2,400 articles published, representing a couple of dozen countries. Taking account of the contents of News Views, some thousands of topics will have been mentioned.
Some of our contributors have been regulars, such as A.J. Stone, who wrote a gripping 26-chapter story about a boy in a children’s home, or Jim Hyland, with his recent history of the approved school service (the final and fifteenth chapter being in this issue). There was Robert Shaw’s seventy-five Key Texts. Parents have written series about adoption, or caring for a disabled child. Anton Tobé wrote about his work in the Balkans. Series have also been contributed by the Hesley Foundation, the Frontier Youth Trust and, more recently, by the ICSE. These are only examples.
Some contributors have written occasional articles, such as those by Charles Pragnell, which have often stirred up responses. And a lot of individuals have contributed single articles. The pay-off for being Editor is the chance to read all the new material as it comes in.
Finally, thankyou to the subscribers and the occasional readers who are directed by search engines, especially to those who have written in. Some of the correspondence has been really moving, sharing personal experiences. Where we have been able to respond to issues raised by readers we have done so; apologies to those we could not help.
Please keep on writing in; we shall still be publishing the letters and articles you submit, and we look forward to the next twelve and a half years, even if we are no longer numbering the issues.