A COMMON AFFLICTION
Jeff Jarvis has a lengthy post titled "Whither Magazines", on what magazines should do in the online era. The subject of magazines is near and dear to my heart.
He uses Time magazine's recent actions to set up the problem:
"Time Magazine just made a rash of brash decisions: cutting its rate base from 4 to 3.25 million (now barely ahead of Newsweek’s 3.1) by getting rid of junk circulation; raising its cover price by a buck to a rather ballsy $4.95; cutting five of its eight special demographic editions; and trying to convince advertisers to buy based on the alleged count of readers vs. the actual count of magazines sold."
And then goes on to add:
"I think that general-interest magazines may well be fated to fade away. General-interest anything is probably cursed...
Yet special-interest magazines — community magazines, to put it another way — have a brighter prospect — if they understand how to enable that community."
He illustrates the problem by giving us his own experience:
"I just found the issues piling up, unread, as only The New Yorker once did, a mountain of guilt in the corner. I love magazines. Hell, I started one. But I’m just too busy reading — or listening or watching — fresher, more focused, more personal, higher interest content on the internet."
I have the same problem...love the magazines, but am seemingly unable to MAKE the time to attack the increasing pile in the corner on a regular basis.
Much in the same way that by RSS feeds pile up in the hundreds everyday in my blog reader, as do dozens upon dozens of podcasts in my iTunes and on my iPod.
Too much good stuff, way too little time.
Not necessarily an old media vs. new media problem.
Just a new problem for ALL media.