06 November 2008

Checking in on the Endangered List

On the heels of US News & World Report's frequency change to monthly, Media Life's Diego Vasquez interviewed blogger The Grim Reaper, who presides over Magazine Death Pool. (Need we say what material the blog covers?)

Ostensible Topic? “Which consumer magazines are the next to fold?” And the discussion looked at the health of the already fragile magazine industry during this current financial meltdown. Grim reveals himself (or herself?) to be very savvy about publishing and to have particular orientation toward the business side.

When asked to name the most vulnerable categories, Grim declared. “shelter, news, entertainment, personal finance, business.” Also he names names or at least titles.

In response to a question about magazine industry layoffs, Grim noted the British view that American magazines have tended to be vastly overstaffed. Reaper added “I do not think many of these positions will be re-opened because there will be less magazines in existence and the industry will have learned that in order to make money and survive, it has to hire people who wear many hats. It's starting to happen now, as reporters and editors are expected to write for both the magazine and the web site.”

Of course, the meltdown is but one condition. There is the larger issue of social climate change. Media is going digital and mobile. Despite Web utilization and even migration, the magazine industry’s structures are built on paper — not unlike a house of cards.

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