Patterico's Pontifications

12/10/2009

Editor & Publisher to Shut Down

Filed under: Economics — DRJ @ 12:15 pm



[Guest post by DRJ]

The newspapers’ newspaper, Editor & Publisher, will no longer edit or publish:

“Editor & Publisher, the bible of the newspaper industry and a journalism institution that traces its origins back to 1884, is ceasing publication.

An announcement, made by parent company The Nielsen Co., was made Thursday morning as staffers were informed that E&P, in both print and online, was shutting down.”

There’s no good time to lose a job but this strikes me as a particularly bad time, especially for those in the media. I really feel for these people but it’s not surprising to see media businesses fail as other American businesses are also going under.

H/T Matador, with my thanks.

— DRJ

UPDATE BY PATTERICO: I don’t regularly read E&P, but everything I have ever read there has been dishonest. No tears here.

45 Responses to “Editor & Publisher to Shut Down”

  1. The editor was a shameless and dishonest dirty socialist what politicized the publication far far beyond the scope of its mission.

    happyfeet (71f55e)

  2. The editor’s name was Greg Mitchell. And now it’s all coming back to you, isn’t it?

    Official Internet Data Office (0a4bf0)

  3. Thump, thump, thump.
    Another one bites the dust.

    Dr. K (eca563)

  4. Not even worthy of a small stack of rocks to mark the grave.

    AD - RtR/OS! (281bb6)

  5. Wow!

    [note: fished from spam filter. –Stashiu]

    Sammy (d54f04)

  6. quick! get them a bailout!!!

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  7. They were way p.c.
    Individual writers, I don’t know; probably a highly talented group of then-herdlike and now-unemployed idealists. But the whole package tipped into not-editor, not-publisher, a highly politicized organ that took on promising topics and disappointed again and again and again. Opportunities squandered: that’s an epigraph to mark that grave.
    Happyfeet nailed this one.

    m (37cf01)

  8. once again, blaming liberal bias for the demise of traditional print… except in this case, there weren’t a lot of conservatives reading E&P, so even if they all canceled their subscription because of creeping liberal bias it would have little if any effect.

    as much as some like to gloat about liberal publications biting the dust, the cause has much less to do with their bias and much more to do with advertisers abandoning print to chase the fad of internet advertising.

    and if liberal bias is the cause for all the disruption, what accounts for the not-liberal Washington Times slashing its staff and coverage?

    steve sturm (369bc6)

  9. Good riddance

    JD (5375e6)

  10. Okay, maybe the demise of print media was not completely due to liberal bias, but can’t we gloat anyway?

    Alta Bob (5daf3f)

  11. Only became aware of them in the last few years.

    What purpose did they serve?. I don’t mean that as put-down. What service of value did they provide?

    TakeFive (7c6fd5)

  12. I like getting a daily newspaper, and subscribed for many years. But the local (Ontario) paper and the LA Times just became so rabidly extreme left wing that I just couldn’t take it anymore.

    Examples include a human interest article about a LA County Fair publicity cattle drive that ended in a minor stampede. Right in the middle of the article, there suddenly appeared a screaming rant about Bush and the baby killing war. Another article about area history in the 1800’s took a sudden swerve to the evils of modern conservatives. There were too many others to count.

    The newspapers expect someone else to pay for their soapbox, even though they are insulting at least half their customers. Of course, if the management had even a basic understanding of economics, the newspapers and magazines would be in far better shape.

    I would probably still be a subscriber if they did not believe that their mission is to spit in my face.

    GaryS (8351a3)

  13. #8) I doubt that you actually know the political demographics of the readers of E&P. But lets say that you are correct. It means that lots of liberal readers, who believed in the ideal of objective journalism rather than advocacy journalism.

    The former wants to make a living informing people, the later wants to change the world and informing people be damned. Why is it so hard for journalists to understand that news is a valuable commodity and that propaganda is not?

    Getting the story right is worth something, but getting the story wrong isn’t just worth nothing, it can actually cost you money.

    You know the real joke about climate change? It is going to get colder, not warmer, and there is no way to spin that. Eventually, the “deniers” will be proven right by circumstance.

    Appeals to authority, appeals to consensus, ad hominem attacks,refusing to debate the issues, and changing the subject are all common tricks used by con men and liars. No rational adult would buy a used car from a salesman using these tactics, but then lots of people aren’t exactly rational, which is why these tactics are used.

    It isn’t good enough anymore and the public is catching on.

    jack (e383ed)

  14. That’s the lefty megaphone E&P, right? Buh-bye!

    gp (f596a1)

  15. I had the exact same sentiments that you expressed, Bradley – not that it would surprise you. The Maoists are next on the chopping block – and for those lamenting their demise, I think that’s what’s called creative destruction in capitalism.

    Dmac (a964d5)

  16. Door, bang their asses on the way out. It is a useless shill outfit if there ever was one. Good riddance

    bill-tb (541ea9)

  17. There was, believe it or not, a time when E&P was just a solid industry chronicle. Kept us up on what everyone else was doing, some new ideas, people moving from place to place, promotions, all the stuff you’re supposed to get from your trade rag.

    E & P was, for many of us on the business-side of the business, a great resource for learning more about journalism, production, technology and other parts of the industry to which we were not otherwise exposed. That was particularly true at small papers I worked at, where the training budget might have consisted of payment of your E & P subscription.

    Too bad, but they lost sight of that mission under Mitchell’s command. Carrying all that liberal water, the ship was bound to sink.

    Matador (176445)

  18. The lesson is that even the choir will not pay to have the same sermon preached to them over and over and over.

    Phil Smith (1cf25d)

  19. I read, but don’t have a cite right now, that Mitchell said he was surprised and thought the magazine was turning around.

    That, if true, is the whole problem with journalism. If a publication’s editor can’t see beyond his or her own blind allegiances and accurately access the health of his/her own publication, then failure is the only possible result.

    Ag80 (83c4ce)

  20. #19, Phil Smith nailed it, and Brother Bradley at #6 predicts a faint ray of hope for the future redemption of print media. I remain somewhat hopeful but decidedly pessimistic.

    ropelight (80456f)

  21. Seriously, who is DRG? Maybe I’m not enough of a regular here to recognize the initials, but this is one site where I’d expect someone posting to understand what a sad disaster E&P had become as a stridently liberal publication. There’s nothing to mourn at all. It’s good news that professional apologists can’t survive in the marketplace.

    HUH (386122)

  22. Why is it so hard for journalists to understand that news is a valuable commodity and that propaganda is not?

    Because they are blinded by ideology, have contempt for readers, whom they consider illiterate right-wing Neanderthals, and mostly because they don’t want to understand.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (fb7def)

  23. Bradley, my appreciation for your candor increases in direct proportion to the extent you express opinions which coincide with mine. Funny how that works out.

    ropelight (80456f)

  24. Steve Sturm,

    re #8

    once again, blaming liberal bias for the demise of traditional print… except in this case, there weren’t a lot of conservatives reading E&P, so even if they all canceled their subscription because of creeping liberal bias it would have little if any effect.

    Another way of phrasing that is to say: absent conservatives, there weren’t enough readers to keep the publication afloat. By focusing only on the patient’s final days, you skip over the actual progression of the fatal disease, when a cure could have been effected before it was too late.

    ras (1d003b)

  25. Every single industry expert on this thread ducked Steve Sturm’s question:

    and if liberal bias is the cause for all the disruption, what accounts for the not-liberal Washington Times slashing its staff and coverage?

    Sometimes, what is not said says it all.

    For the record: The Wash. Times, which I believe is the home paper for the McCain person whose racist views have been debated here for days, cut 40 percent of its staff.

    To paraphrase happyfeet: Good for those dirty socialist liberals. Hope they enjoy their holidays.

    Myron (998393)

  26. I’ll take “Print is a dying medium” for $300, Alex.

    Techie (482700)

  27. Moron, the Washington Times is the new kid on the block. It’s a startup and startups have a harder time when the economy goes south. All publications are having a hard time figuring out how to survive when classified ads have all gone to Craig’s List and other on-line services, like Monster.com for help wanted. One lesson a lot of people learned when they went into business, even if it was a hot dog stand, is don’t piss off half of your potential customers. I haven’t agreed with the LA Times or the NY Times editorial policy for 40 years but, until the last five years, I subscribed. Somebody said that they didn’t like having the paper spit in their face every day.

    I for one liked Cottage Living, which someone on another site used as an example of a silly magazine. I was very unhappy to see Gourmet quit publishing and not very happy to be told I will get Bon Appetite instead.

    Still, these people (newspapers) made an effort to piss off people who were potential customers. I think it is because they forgot it was a business and a retail business, at that. Very few of them had ever had any other type of job.

    I quit the OC Register a couple of years ago when I got tired of them cutting back on local news and using the NY Times wire service for national news. They should know that their customer base is not going to like that. Well, they still deliver the thing every day. I don’t know who’s getting the bill but it isn’t me.

    I actually felt sorry for the LA Times and, one of the hundred times I was called and asked to re-subscribe, I said OK. That was a couple of years ago. Guess what ? A month later, before I had ever gotten a bill for the $2 a month they were billing me, I got a nasty letter that I was delinquent in paying. !

    The phone almost caught fire while I was canceling again.

    Boy, do they know how to run a successful business !

    Mike K (2cf494)

  28. I worked for Gourmet from 1990 – 95, Mike – and Conde Nast made a huge mistake when they switched editors (around 1999) to Ruth Reichel, who promptly tried to make the book “Bon Appetite Light.” They screwed the pooch, and many of the alumni of the mag are not pleased.

    Dmac (a964d5)

  29. Moron should also stick to subjects he knows about – like constructing strawmen and attempting to write like a male version of MODO. Both monikers make quite a similarity, actually.

    Dmac (a964d5)

  30. ropelight,

    Bradley, my appreciation for your candor increases in direct proportion to the extent you express opinions which coincide with mine. Funny how that works out.

    :-)

    Well, I hate to see inaccuracy and ignorance in the media, which is supposed to be obsessed with being factual, humble before uncertainty and scrupulous about correcting its errors. The shoddy excuse for cognition that goes into stories is disgusting beyond my capacity to express. A large number of them are pure frauds.

    #19, Phil Smith nailed it, and Brother Bradley at #6 predicts a faint ray of hope for the future redemption of print media. I remain somewhat hopeful but decidedly pessimistic.

    I have very little hope for print media. It’s getting worse. (The LA Times is a perfect example of how dreadful print has become). The most frustrating thing is reading the pontifications and bloviations of print media solons wondering how to get back readership, and not even considering whether their disinformation-filled content could be part of the problem. Climategate makes the point very strongly, as I’ve been stressing in my blog posts. (click my name to get them).

    I am much more optimistic about online media and blogs. Unlike print media, they are not ossified and filled with deadwood. Yes, many online sites have crappy reporting just like print media (Hello, Huffington Post!), but there are also truly excellent sites like this blog, and Watt’s Up With That?

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (0ea407)

  31. They’re failing because they SUCK!

    I have zero sympathy for them.

    thebronze (0ef15e)

  32. At least the WaTimes is attempting rational moves to stay afloat. Has Moron commented on the pull-back from National/International coverage that the WaPo announced recently? Perhaps now there will be a real horse-race between the Times and Post as papers covering their little corner of the East Coast? Of course, the Post could further reduce their red-ink if they $hit-canned Newspeak?

    AD - RtR/OS! (281bb6)

  33. Steve Sturm and Myron,

    Editor & Publisher may be a special case since it markets to a specific clientele. That’s one reason why I think the primary explanation for its demise could be the downturn in the economy, and that’s why I wrote the post the way I did. I also think today’s media are more likely to fail because their capitalization is already in jeopardy, and that’s due to the continuing decline in subscriptions that very well might be caused by biased reporting and articles.

    In other words, the bad economy hastens the fall of already teetering media companies.

    DRJ (84a0c3)

  34. Okay, maybe the demise of print media was not completely due to liberal bias, but can’t we gloat anyway?

    As someone once said: Yes we can!!

    sherlock (e1e91e)

  35. Myron:

    I’ll answer steve’s question.

    I read E&P for many years. As another poster has pointed out, it was an industry trade publication. In my former line of business, I read it regularly for information about my industry, for job openings and to see who was working where.

    There is no question that Mitchell decided to play to his audience, which is largely liberal, rather than doing what an industry publication should do and that is provide the information that the people in its trade need.

    This is only my opinion and you can take it or leave it. Print newspapers and magazines, left or right, are suffering because they simply cannot compete with the immediacy and economy of the Internet for advertising dollars. Their operating costs are astronomical.

    Then, when you alienate at least half of your consumers, the end result usually is not good. Just look at Newsweek.

    As to the Washington Times: where to start?

    First: You know as well as I do that it is a Moonie paper. Conservative, yes. Staffed by some good thinkers and writers, yes. But still Moonie. And, believe it or not, some conservatives have a problem with that.

    Second: Washington ranks right up there as part of the la-la left-wing wonderland of the United States at a close fourth behind San Francisco, Berkeley and Austin.

    Here’s how you can estimate the circulation of the Washington Times: Count about half the Republicans in Congress, add their spouses, add half the folks at the Pentagon and divide by two. That does not add up to a sustainable circulation.

    I would like to say that liberal bias is killing newspapers, but it’s not. It’s just helping.

    Ag80 (83c4ce)

  36. A lot of industries had, or have trade rags. They serve a valuable purpose–if they stick to that purpose. But realistically about the only political positions your average trade rag should take relate to warning or informing the industry about something that state or local politicians are proposing to do to or for the industry.

    Beyond that, the rag is straying from its purpose and from its value.

    Mike Myers (3c9845)

  37. #36 Ag80:

    Second: Washington ranks right up there as part of the la-la left-wing wonderland of the United States at a close fourth behind San Francisco, Berkeley and Austin

    And a distant fifth behind The National Hippie Preserve®.

    I would like to say that liberal bias is killing newspapers, but it’s not. It’s just helping.

    Even in the case of the WaTimes.

    The WaTimes relies heavily on the wire services for its news, and the constant abrasion of the liberal bias in the wire stories finally wore me down enough that I didn’t renew my subscription.

    EW1(SG) (edc268)

  38. Editor and Publisher will now become a better publication.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  39. I would like to say that liberal bias is killing newspapers, but it’s not. It’s just helping.

    You’re right, Ag80. Liberal bias, and extreme sloppiness is not alone killing newspapers, but it’s speeding the process. The larger cause is the Internet.

    The Internet’s allure is it provides a universe of information not gatekeepered by the MSM, and the MSM looks increasingly bad by comparison. I think there’s a real decline in modern journalism, too, but it would be harder to see without comparison to quality sources outside the mediacracy. Just read the comments on most MSM stories on global warming: Many are far more intelligent than the reporter’s half-understood drivel, regurgitated from activist to keypad with nary a brain cell firing.

    No doubt that Greg Mitchell blatantly catered to the leftist political biases of his readership, but there’s plenty of lefty sites out there. Why read E&P when you can get The Nation?

    I wrote for a computer trade publication in the late 90s, and it’s as Ag80 said: The first order of business is to give news that helps readers compete in their industry.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (0ea407)

  40. Every article I read in E&P was trash. I’m not surprised it died.

    PCD (1d8b6d)

  41. Every single industry expert on this thread ducked Steve Sturm’s question

    Coming from a guy who repeatedly ducks on economic issues when challenged, that’s pretty ironic.

    Another Chris (2d8013)

  42. For the last few years my local PBS station here hosts an annual roundtable of news opinion writers, reporters and editors, and each time they wring their hands and express dismay and chagrin over the evil internet and how it’s killing their businesses. Nary is a word uttered about their contempt for their audiences, nary a word is heard regarding their biases and reluctance to confront them, let alone admit them. It’s quite sad to watch at times, they’re all dinosaurs on the brink of extinction, yet they still can’t see the forest for the trees.

    Dmac (a964d5)

  43. Some of this, I believe, goes back to the dichotomy between the math and science educated person and the math illiterate person. Now, many math and science people are left wing politically. Some of that is because they live in academia or they are cogs in big wheels like Microsoft and never have to face the issues that small business owners face. The AGW fiasco might, just might, bring a dose of reality to those people who understand science but are naive about politics. As this thing unfolds, it will be difficult for anyone who knows science or statistics to ignore the chicanery that went on in climate “science.” A good discussion is here.

    He compares the AGW science manipulation to the Challenger disaster.

    In his own report Feynman described the terrible and corrupting influence of incentives and expectation upon science and engineering. Even literal rocket science was not exempt from human pressure. Feynman ended his discussion of the Challenger disaster with an observation that eerily speaks to the subject of “consensus” in scientific matters. Consensus doesn’t matter. Only science and engineering does. “For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled.”

    “If a reasonable launch schedule is to be maintained, engineering often cannot be done fast enough to keep up with the expectations of originally conservative certification criteria designed to guarantee a very safe vehicle. In these situations, subtly, and often with apparently logical arguments, the criteria are altered so that flights may still be certified in time. They therefore fly in a relatively unsafe condition, with a chance of failure of the order of a percent (it is difficult to be more accurate).

    Official management, on the other hand, claims to believe the probability of failure is a thousand times less. One reason for this may be an attempt to assure the government of NASA perfection and success in order to ensure the supply of funds. The other may be that they sincerely believed it to be true, demonstrating an almost incredible lack of communication between themselves and their working engineers.

    The management types, politicians in the AGW story, were far more certain of their safety than the engineers were. In this case, the science people seem to have been even more enthusiastic, probably to the grant situation. NASA engineers were on salary.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  44. This from Greg Mitchell made me snicker:

    “all our coverage on all subjects—is not to be partisan or not to be left or right or anything like that. But we believe in the—what should be the main principle of journalism, besides being accurate and fair, is to be skeptical—to raise questions, to not take what officials say as the gospel truth—unless it’s really proven—if there’s documents.”

    The spectacle of leftist journalists practicing leftist journalism while claiming they’re being nonpartisan is unfailingly amusing.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (c1861a)


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