Alger told us he has been surprised by the number of emails that he has received congratulating him on rising though a route less recognised.
But it is perhaps less of a surprise that this internal promotion, taking Alger from online editor of T3 to editor-in-chief of the brand, was made by Future, which publishes a range of consumer titles. Future's chief executive Mark Wood comes from television rather than print, having been in the top position at ITN, and under his leadership there has been a focus on digital, with success on Apple's Newsstand and in online video.
In this Q&A, we speak to Alger, who is 35, to find out a bit more about his background and the new challenge of overseeing print, online and an interactive digital edition.
He takes responsibility for T3.com, which has a readership of 2.1 million monthly unique users and 9 million global page impressions. Audited figures for the second half of last year show a combined monthly circulation for print, standard digital and interactive digital editions of more than 65,000, which breaks down as a print circulation of 36,000 and digital edition circulation of almost 30,000.
T3 is currently on the shortlist for the PPA Digital Awards 2013 as the digital brand of the year, was shortlisted as the PPA consumer media brand of the year 2013, and took the titles of digital product of the year and international consumer magazine of the year in 2012.
Three questions for Kieran Alger:
1. What's your background?
My entire career has been web-based. I started in 2001 in the first internet boom, working on a youth culture website called yCraze. There was a small team of three or four of us working in someone's front room in a flat in Victoria.
I did a year or so there before moving into the slightly different and much bigger and grander world of AOL. I started at the bottom of the ladder, working on their sport channels, then on the launch of various men's and sports microsites and up to the role of team leader overseeing a range of lifestyle channels.
That was back at the time when AOL was starting to grow, in the really exiting days when AOL was doing things like buying Time Warner. It was a really good place to cut my teeth in terms of learning the basics of how to drive big traffic from web properties.
After six years at AOL I was given the opportunity to take a step out into a more standard publishing world at what was then Emap, switching to being Bauer while I was there, as editor of the ZOO website.
I was working in an environment with the competition between resources on a magazine, a print brand, verses trying to build up a web audience. It was very much a time when there were very traditional views as to what a website was supposed to do within that publishing environment.
There were huge challenges, we were almost like the sickly younger sibling. We had a few people working on the website but the majority of the focus was always going to be through the print title as that was making the revenue from sales.
We managed to build the traffic from 3 million page impressions a month up to more than 20 million, so we had a huge success in drawing in an audience with a small amount of resource. I started to have that experience of breaking down the barriers between the older, more established print and this new thing which was the web, getting people to work across platforms.
After a year there, an opportunity came up at T3 to edit the site, that was just over five years ago. I thought that was a brilliant opportunity to stay within something that was predominantly publishing to a male audience, something I was comfortable in, but a fantastic opportunity to get into an area which you can see is only going to go from strength to strength in terms of writing about technology and it permeating everyone's life.
When I started at T3 there was a fairly small team and some of the similar challenges that I faced at ZOO where there was a sizable print team and people working separately in silos.There were huge challenges, we were almost like the sickly younger siblingKieran Alger on being part of a web team
I had a fairly big job to do in order to change that mentality and move the website on, but in those five years we have made a really solid job of really turning round numbers. We were doing something like 300,000 page views a month when I joined, we are now doing upwards of 10 million.
I could see the opportunity there with T3; I knew the audience could be much bigger and still believe it can grow exponentially on top of what we've already done.
I relish that idea of pushing the digital side of things, but there's a big job of convincing people, that I have had to do over the past five years, that we should be allocating resource.
2. How have you made the shift from online to being responsible for creating a product that is going to be sold on a news stand?
I'm lucky in that I'm supported by a really strong print team and a fantastic magazine editor.
To a certain extent my focus is going to be very much digital. One of the big challenges that I have to look at is how we can keep getting the maximum out of the print product but while really using our resources more intelligently to go where the growth is – and that is going to be online.
There is going to be a learning curve for me to go into the print world and pick up some of the finer points of print production processes. But I've been in and around the print environment for long enough and naturally I have been involved with the magazine process along the way.
In the past five years the structure within T3 has been evolving anyway, so a couple of years back we changed from having section editors separately on print and on web to having section editors who were responsible for their sections across the brand.
3. Did you do a journalism course?
I did English literature at university and went on to do the periodical publishing post-graduate diploma (PG Dip) at City University London.
I actually didn't finish it and quit after the first term to go and take the job of deputy editor on the new start-up. I took a bit of a leap when I was about 21. And it's turned out all right.