The Death of Magazines

I had a really great post lined up for yesterday and it seems as if another day just got away from me without getting a chance to share the latest and greatest. In the interest of full-disclosure, I've been feeling a little bit under the weather. I'm hoping to take a few days to myself - and am armed with a list of ideas and lots of magazines to gather some inspiration from.

Speaking of magazines, who around town isn't talking about the close of four more Condé Nast titles? Yesterday they announced the close of Gourmet, Cookie, Modern Bride and Elegant Bride. As the news hit, I read increasing amount of blog posts throughout most the afternoon — spending time listening to how bloggers feel the change of media is moving from printed to digital and how in the end, this affects every one of us.

Of all the people whose reactions I read, I think Abbey summed up what many of us were thinking but couldn't quite articulate. Please note this is only an excerpt. You can read her full post on the subject here.

I feel that the bloggers I read are my “peers” and I deeply respect their ideas and options.  However, for the most part, the blogs I read are not written by experts.  That is what I most enjoy about print media and most worry about losing — that these magazines are effectively the “adults” in the room, the experts in my life.  I get a lot of reassurance out of reading the opinions of those that are older, wiser and more experienced than me.  I loved that the recipes in Gourmet had been tested by many many people who really knew their way around a kitchen — I trusted that collective experience and let it guide me in my own kitchen.  I guess I really feel like a trusted mentor has died and I fear losing the other “mentors” in my life — the New York Review of Books, The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, The Economist. These publications are like people to me, I trust them like I would trust a parent.

We all know that blogs and the internet are so ephemeral, for better and mostly for worse.  I don’t think that someone is going to print images of my blog out in thirty years and hang them in her kitchen, as I did with Gourmet covers from the 1970s.  I bet in 10 years many of our favorite blogs today won’t even still be hosted — at some point it is just going to be too much content to wrangle — the content won’t generate enough interest to pay for the cost of hosting it. There aren’t any libraries archiving blog content (I know the internet archive project is doing something, but, again, that is electronic). I don’t mind the ephemeral nature of the internet, because there has always been print to anchor history.  At what point does the way history is recorded fundamentally change because of the internet?  I’m being a bit hysterical, I know, but, I guess I have an inkling where this is going to end and I don’t like it.

As someone in the wedding industry, I tend to think we have a responsibility to streamline the type of information we're providing. With countless blogs starting everyday adding to the oversaturation of the same idea, I agree that the editors of print publications are the ones' with the resources, connections and exposure to offer me ideas I have not seen countless times before. So many bloggers will publish photos from a Real Wedding and that same exact set of photos will get passed along and picked up countless times. With magazines, you never see the same event. The ideas are generated months before each publication goes to print and these are the ideas that start trends.

The end of another magazine is something I take very personally. I started my career working in the publishing industry and to see another title close up shop makes me wonder if as a blogger, I'm helping contribute to the demise of an industry. I guess what I'm trying to say that collectively, bloggers can be extremely powerful – maybe we should be asking ourselves "Are we doing more harm than good?"

Posted on October 6, 2009 and filed under Blogs, Books + Magazines.