Sunday, October 12, 2008

Death of the Magazine

image courtesy of

It's official. My favorite magazine (where I had my dream internship) is getting its last subscription on the December issue. Hearst will be
folding CosmoGirl!, its second title along with Quick & Simple. What a perfect example of our economic woes. All the editors, photographers, researchers, and interns - are jobless. Who would've thought, Hearst, the original Big Five member, would slowly crumble, one magazine at a time?
And Cosmogirl! isn't the last. Fast Company magazine's publisher laid off twenty employees, while the power of the magazine's website shifted to Bob Sussman, previously editor. This proves that not even glossy cover of a celebrity with the most sexy appeal is not going to help maintain readership.

But there is still hope for the magazine's website because it will continue to run long after Susan Shulz, CosmoGirl!'s Editor-in-Chief stops working on putting together Teen advice and celebrity gossip for young girls to read. No matter the content is entertainment or hard news, the blatant shift is towards the internet, quick and easy news, images and videos. Journalists can't just do the reporting anymore. They not only have to know the World Wide Web, they have to learn to build traffic, beat out the other competitors in the new medium. What this says about journalism, is that it's not (and maybe never was) just reporting, getting the truth out there. It's about cutting expenses, beating out the competition.

1 comment:

M. Dery said...

Interesting item, pithy synopsis, but what do you add to it? Also, I'm not sure the few insights you offer are borne out by the evidence at hand. As well, beware of unsupported assumptions. As in: "All the editors, photographers, researchers, and interns - are jobless." Pardon my nitpick, but how do you KNOW that? Some may have lined up jobs before they got the axe, if they saw it coming. Some may have landed new gigs before the source you rely on went to press. Another quibble (more than a quibble, actually): "This proves that not even glossy cover of a celebrity with the most sexy appeal is not going to help maintain readership." But as one poster in the comment thread points out, that just might be the problem: an overemphasis on sexy cover models versus market-smart reporting---journalism of real substance. If true, the magazine's failure would have less to do with the Web Effect, as it's called, and more to do with a lack of editorial substance. End of post merely repeats common wisdom about the cultural megashift away from print, toward the digital, and about journalism's reliance on the economic bottom line, i.e., the age-old truism that advertising pays the bills and makes good journalism possible. Every reader except those living in the Unabomber's cabin know that. Tell us something new.