1.27.2009

Magazine Grief

I love magazines. Enough that for one semester I was a magazine journalism major, with designs on a career at Utne or Bust or some other fabulous glossy.

It started in middle school, when I happened upon an issue of Sassy. Oh my gosh, I loved Sassy. I cannot overstate the impact Sassy had on my taste in books and music, and consequently, on my very personality. (See How Sassy Changed My Life for a pitch perfect portrayal of the magazine's allure.)

And then it was sold to the publishers of Teen Magazine, thanks to its ever-tumultuous relationship with the few companies bold enough to advertise for such a, well, sassy publication. For a few months it was Sassy in name only, but mirrored all the other teen drivel on the market. After a slow and painful death, my subscription was replaced by the ultimate purveyor of teen drivel.

So I do not have an ounce of Magazine Grief upon hearing that Teen Magazine has finally folded. I certainly have sincere sympathy for the people who are losing their jobs over it. Still, my inner adolescent is telling The Man, er, The Teen, she got what she deserved at long last.

I do have more than enough Magazine Grief to go around these days. A couple weeks ago the official announcement that Simple Scrapbooks, for which Elizabeth is a writer and editor and Marie is a contributor, is folding. Simple Scrapbooks - like Sassy - is one of those magazines where you feel like you get to know the writers and editors and designers. Scrapbooking is such a personal art form, it's inevitable that the personalities of the people involved are central to the project. I'm really sorry for my sisters and for all the people in the Simple community.

And then today I hear that Wondertime, the marvelous parenting magazine, is ceasing publication as of the March issue. Even though its ad sales went up 20% in 2008!? I hadn't even yet figured out the mystery of who got me a gift subscription recently. To my Wondertime benefactor: thank you, and I commiserate with you.

On top of my Magazine Grief, I have Magazine Anxiety. Will Disciples World make it? And the Christian Century? Brain Child? Paste? The only one I'm not worried about is Good Housekeeping, but even institutions seem to be on rocky ground in this miserable economy.

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