Contract terminated

UK construction trade weekly Contract Journal is to shut down at the end of the month.

The news comes as no surprise to anyone who has been monitoring the UK construction press over the past year, and it confirms a prediction made by CIB Communications’ Andy Cassie in February that one major construction title and one architecture title might disappear (see post Testing times for AEC IT magazines?).

The announcement came in an email from parent company Reed Business Information. It said:

… the end of this month will see the closure of Contract Journal and its sister web site Like the construction contractors it serves, Contract Journal has been hit severely by an unprecedented market recession which has slashed advertising volumes by more than half. The editorial and sales team have reacted superbly to the downturn, producing great content and satisfying the needs of the much smaller advertising base. But despite their efforts, the market is now not large enough to support a large circulation free title. The last issue of Contract Journal will be at the end of the month and will close simultaneously. Every effort is being made to redeploy the staff elsewhere at our parent company Reed Business Information (RBI).

Sadly, despite recent debates about balancing digital and online content (see The future of the construction media), RBI clearly sees no point in continuing with its advertising-driven contractor-oriented news and feature content, so the website will also be shut down. Presumably, CJ’s web 2.0 presence (see post) will also either disappear or re-emerge in new guises. I hope Brian Green’s Brickonomics blog continues as a stand-alone project (or maybe Brian will link up with another publication), but I think we will see the demise of the discussion board Construction Space, and the Twitter feed of CJ stories will cease. And as for the Facebook page, who knows?


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  1. Contract Journal to close

    People have noted that I tend to be quite upbeat about my work here (bar the odd rant or two) and that’s because, on the whole, we have a lot to be upbeat about. But I ought to acknowledge that…

  2. Hi Paul,
    With regard to the ConstructionSpace Discussion Forums – I’ve just invited the participants to consider moving their conversations over to the Asite Community Forums when ConstructionSpace (presumably) closes along with CJ at the end of this month.
    I’m keen to hear your and other ConstructionSpace members’ thought on this.
    ConstructionSpace Post

  3. Looking at the discussion thread, the response has been mixed (to say the least!). Some have been supportive (but also jumping on the bandwagon and suggesting alternatives), and others hostile (accusations of spamming, etc – “PLEASE go and play somewhere else you frauds and leave Construction alone”!).
    It is a sensitive issue, both for the loyal ConstructionSpace users and for its admin team, especially with the CJ closure decision still very ‘raw’. I think with any Web 2.0 community, the onus should be on the community itself to decide where they want to migrate to.

  4. Absolutely it has been mixed. I haven’t experienced flames like that from pseudonym-bearing forum members since my teenage days on Commodore 64 dial-in bulletin boards in the 1980s!
    I totally agree with you that in any Web 2.0 community only decisions taken by the community at large will carry the weight to move hearts and minds. It is clearly a raw issue – although some of the rancour which has been stirred seems to me excessive (ie accusations of fraud and the redefinition of ‘spammer’ to include an individual using his real name and company name to make a community which presumably will be looking for a place to continue discussions aware of a free industry-specific alternative…)
    So it goes clearly… 🙂

  5. Some bulletin board/discussion forum people can use the pseudonym opportunities of such platforms to get into flame wars – I withdrew from participation in the “Building” forum for several months after repeated trolling (see my post Beware of the Trolls 2. While some users use their own name or – like me, openly link to a blog, website and/or Twitter ID with my real details freely available – others clearly feel it is perfectly OK to abuse well-meaning contributors hidden by the cloak of anonymity. It’s not nice and it’s not clever.

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