Right of Reply: James Steen

The editor of `Punch' answers yesterday's criticisms of his magazine
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THE GIST of David Thomas's piece was that, try as we might (and I think he thinks we're doing a good job), Punch can't succeed. He is wrong, and I believe the next few months will prove the point. To get a grasp of Punch, Thomas would do well to treat it as a new title: the magazine is not what it used to be under his editorship.

There is a market for Punch, Mr Thomas. It is made up of people who dislike convention, and they savour the prospect of bringing down to size the big boys and the bullies in politics and business.

Before Thomas's claims that "nobody seems to take [Punch] seriously any more", he should have examined the press cuttings:

The Mandelson expose has received press coverage every day since the issue hit the stands last Wednesday, and yesterday, in The Daily Mail, it even won the support of media expert Stephen Glover who, at one time, was all for killing us off. There are assumptions made by Thomas, on which he bases his own argument that Punch can't work, and to be fair he was unaware of crucial facts when he wrote his piece. The most important of these have been distribution difficulties - we were on sale in too few newsagents - which are rapidly being sorted out.

Of course, the editorial content must maintain a high standard and I was delighted to see that Thomas concedes that our media gossip is "stronger than the Eye's".

Sadly, Thomas finds little humour in the magazine. The humour is in the stories themselves, the writing style, headlines, layouts. On top of that we have the best cartoonists working for us. We'll raise a glass when this underdog's bite has become irresistible to everyone in Britain who is anti-establishment - sooner than you think, Mr Thomas.

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