It is with the heaviest of hearts that Installation announces the passing of its dear friend and colleague, Ian McMurray who died last week after a short illness.
Ian was a rare talent who made an art of translating highly complex and technical information into engaging, palatable editorial; always of the highest quality, always submitted on time. Ian often joked that he was yet to miss a deadline, and he was true to his word right to the end; he filed his final article for the upcoming issue of Installation just days before he sadly passed away. It is the mark of the man who went about his business professionally, diligently, and without fuss.
As well as being Installation‘s longest serving regular contributor, he served for a time as the title’s contributing editor providing invaluable advice and endless ideas for features and editorial for what was at the time a young editorial team learning its craft.
On a personal level, he will always be best remembered for his work on the ISE and IBC Daily teams, where his relentless filing of high-quality copy really came to the fore. He was an ever-dependable member of both teams, and was much loved and much admired by all of his peers. Indeed, another of his rare talents was that he was universally liked in the industries he served.
Ian was someone I regularly sought counsel from; someone I turned to for advice, ideas, perspective. He was always accommodating, always honest, always willing to help. For me and for many of his peers, he was a constant in our industries as a respected and notable writer, a technical expert, and a colleague and friend that many of us will retain the fondest memories of.
The picture we’ve used above, courtesy of our dear friend Michael Burns, captures Ian in typical working mode in the ISE Daily office. For many of us, our lasting image of him will be sitting in The Hoppe pub in Amsterdam after a long shift on the Daily, nursing a pint in blissful solitude. It is here that I will always picture him.
It is heartbreaking news. He will be sorely missed by all.
The thoughts and condolences of everyone at Installation and the wider Future family go out to Ian’s family and friends. May he rest in peace.
Tributes have been coming in to us from around the industry, which we will continue to collate for the forthcoming editions of Installation and TVBEurope magazines. If you would like to offer a tribute to Ian, please contact me at [email protected]. I am also in touch with his family, and will pass on all tributes and messages as they come in.
Paddy Baker, ISE and former editor of Installation
“I’m deeply saddened to hear of Ian’s passing. Shortly after I took on the editor’s role at Installation Europe (as it was then), Ian explained to me why he could only communicate with via email: he combined his freelance career with a full-time job, so he couldn’t take calls. You might think that this complex working arrangement would be a recipe for chaos and disappointment, but no – quite the reverse. Ian was an editor’s dream. His work was accurate, needing little sub-editing. He never missed a deadline; if he had to renegotiate the odd one, it was never because of him. He was also a master of finding new and interesting ways to introduce familiar topics; in ways that might initially seem contrived but actually made excellent sense once he got you onto his wavelength. And on occasions when I was struggling to come up with a strong enough angle for one of his commissions, I would send him my half-formed ideas, which he would build on and adapt into something that was actually workable. Small wonder, then, that his work appeared in just about every issue of the magazine that I edited – as well as being on the team of every ISE Daily until this year, when illness prevented him.
“And there was something else. He seemed to have a limitless capacity for writing. As his prolific workrate on the ISE Daily showed, turning out high-quality copy extremely quickly was his default setting. On occasion I would approach him sheepishly with a request to add a short-turnaround story to his already full Daily workload – I don’t remember him ever turning me down. And in addition to his output, he was a great asset to the Daily team with his unflappable demeanour and sharp, but never cruel, sense of humour.
“Because of the nature of his freelance work, I would only see Ian in person in Amsterdam during ISE and IBC. My abiding memory will be of him enjoying a quiet drink at the Hoppe, the ISE Daily pub of choice, after a long day at the keyboard. You’ve earned it, my friend.”
Michael Burns, IBC and ISE Daily colleague
“I’ve worked with Ian for several years on the IBC Daily and ISE Daily, first as a fellow writer and then as an editor, but always as a much-respected colleague. Always the one to deliver the first story, and usually the one to deliver the most copy on the team (small victories he always celebrated), Ian was always a very dependable and accomplished writer, who I greatly enjoyed working with. Our industry and its publications will miss his talent and support. I know I will.
“Ian’s witty observations and cutting comments always made me laugh out loud, especially when they were directed at me (more often than not). It’s so typical of the man that earlier this month, in what would be the last message I received from him, his remark about something I’d forgotten was: “My excuse is ‘I’m a bit preoccupied’. What’s yours? LOL…”
Dan Goldstein, AVIXA and former editor of Installation
“I first met Ian in the early 2000s when he was heading-up the DLP division of Texas Instruments for Europe. When he left that position for a new job outside of the AV industry, he was probably relieved to get out. Little did he know that, as editor of Installation Europe at the time, I would come calling on his services as a writer so that his wit, experience, eye for detail and dogged determination were not lost to AV entirely. Ian went on to become a core part of the team that created the ISE Daily in 2006, and in that role, as in all of his others, he was a charming, efficient and objective documenter of the huge shifts that impacted not just AV but consumer technology in general. His combination of skills was rare and will be much-missed.”
George Cole, former ISE Daily colleague
“I am devastated to hear the news of Ian’s death. I was fortunate enough to work with Ian in the ISE Daily press office in 2017 and 2018, and my one abiding image is of Ian sitting at his desk, pounding away on his keyboard and churning out reams of copy at a tremendous rate – he was a powerhouse. What’s more, it was always high quality stuff. Ian could turn his hand to anything – a snappy news story; an in-depth interview or a highly technical piece that was both informative and entertaining to read.
“Ian never ever seemed to get flustered, even when several tight deadlines were looming. I remember how he’d gladly take on extra work to help someone out – and deliver the goods on time. If you wanted the definition of a highly professional journalist, Ian was it. I loved his dry sense of humour, and we often discussed the county where he lived, Northamptonshire, as it’s one of my favourite regions. I can’t imagine an ISE Daily office without Ian. To say he leaves a huge gap is an understatement. I feel very lucky to have known Ian, and my thoughts go out to his friends and family.”
Louise Wells, on behalf of all at Bubble Communications
“We are deeply sad to hear the news of Ian’s passing; his family and friends are in our thoughts and prayers. Ian was a pleasure to work with, always offering such kind words whenever any of the Bubble team worked with him on opportunities. The industry has lost a wonderful man and a great contributor. We are all so very sad and lost for words.”
Michael Garwood, Bees Buzz PR and former editor of AV Technology Europe
“I’m deeply saddened and shocked by the news of Ian’s passing. I was fortunate to have worked closely with Ian during my time as editor of AV Technology Europe, a time where he was affectionately addressed as my ‘Mr Reliable’ and my ‘Favourite Freelancer’ – much to his amusement and gratitude.
“But aside from being a fantastic, creative and indeed entertaining writer (he loved a John Cleese reference), Ian was (and I truly hate describing him in the past tense) someone I was honoured to get to know personally and describe him as a friend. Something that always makes me smile, is how I remember him bluntly warning me – the then new boy – on my first week at AVTE that we’d never speak on the phone and had requested that I adhere to his strict email only policy of communication. A unique character and I liked him immediately.
“Looking back, our final communications related to his then upcoming hospital appointments and my, as a fellow Northamptonshire resident, offers of transportation, should he ever need it. Many people describe the AV Community as an AV Family – and for me, Ian was firmly part of that.
“We never did ‘catch-up’ for that drink we repeatedly promised. I’ll miss you, Ian.”
Alexis Lipoff, 3WM Communications
“I am reading this with much sadness. Ian was a formidable journalist, always on the deck representing the ISE and IBC Daily, with an incredibly sharp, sometimes critical, but always fair opinion on industry news and novelties. Some of his emails ended with the post scriptum “my proud boast in 15+ years of freelance writing is that I have never yet missed a deadline…” and the fact that he submitted his last article for Installation on time speaks volume about his professionalism. We will truly miss him when the next trade show finally comes. He was one of the great writers of this industry. Our thoughts at 3WM go to him and his family.”
Dan Gumble, former editor of Installation
“I only spent a brief period as editor of Installation, but during that time Ian was – as he had been for many years – one of our most valued contributors. His articles and features were always expertly written and insightful. Incredibly, even during what must have been unthinkably difficult times during his illness, he continued to pitch great ideas and deliver reliably excellent copy on time. Indeed, his feature in the coming edition of Installation was filed just days before his passing. It was a huge shock to discover that he had passed. He was a consummate professional who will be missed by all who have worked at Installation and in the industry at large.”
Joss Armitage, Jump PR
“Having worked as both a journalist and in PR in this industry, more so the latter, Ian was a constant in my professional life for many, many years. He was easy to deal with, clear in what was required and knew the pressures and constraints under which we often have to work. And he appreciated a laugh, too. This is very sad news.”
Chris Forrester, IBC and ISE Daily colleague
“Ian was MUCH too young to be taken from us and his family. He was invariably one of the very first to arrive at the office and was always there with a joke and a comment on the day’s news – and perhaps a light-hearted grumble about Dutch coffee. But more than any of this he really was a super nice guy, a total professional, and we will all miss him.”
George Jarrett, IBC Daily colleague
“My abiding memories of sitting next to Ian in the IBC Daily News room were his incredible productivity, and the subsequent adoration accorded by PR teams excitingly glad to prove their value to clients. Everyone who brought him a story, or a present for writing a published piece, were given the same polite and brief reception.
“Ian took everything in his stride, despite having the most demanding hall (1) in terms of technical variation, and for every one story I did he seemed to produce five or six. Writing a ton of stuff for the pre-produced middle sections gave him a wide product news perspective for IBC itself, so he was rarely surprised.
In terms of Amsterdam outside of RAI churn hours, Ian loved The Hoppe as his every night local, but just for a couple of beers and being immersed in his own thoughts, just inches from the bustling activity of the street. All our conversations, bar one long exchange in The Hoppe, were brief but witty or cordial. Ian reminded me of the Paul Simon lyric, “I am a rock, I am an island”.”