Entering the ‘Other’ World (Beyond Print)
The ballyhoo of digital delivery is more of a perception than a reality in Joel Schalit’s world. As managing editor for Tikkun magazine—a bimonthly Jewish critique of politics, culture and society—obstacles and concerns take on a different form. “For a publication like ours—a niche publication that caters to a specific community—our objective and challenge is to commission and publish incredible, distinct analytical pieces to distinguish ourselves from comrade publications,” explains Schalit. “We exist in a warm and welcoming publishing community, and we all see ourselves as working toward the same goals.”
Schalit concedes there is much discussion about the viability of print media because of ad migration to the Web and the timeliness of Web publications over print. “But it depends on the magazine, especially those covering news and current affairs,” he says. “A lot of news-driven publications have been hit very hard by declining ad revenue, and I believe that the Web is more competitive for up-to-the-minute political information.”
As a result, he adds, some publications are trying to develop an online strategy that could generate the same or equivalent revenue as print. Then there is Jonathon Feit. He is chief editor, publisher and co-founder of Citizen Culture, which says it is the first magazine to go completely digital. The magazine targets young professionals. His readers: Generation Xers and Yers. While he believes there is a place for print, he abandoned a print edition after eight months to re-launch digitally last fall.
“The challenge for print publishers is just the sheer number of titles out there that make it hard to survive,” says Feit. “With 900 launches a year, the market is oversaturated. They are all vying for attention from readers that have very short bits of it to give.”
Citizen Culture offers perspectives for young professionals and includes an array of special sections, from arts and entertainment to law, religion and travel. Blogs and podcasts are also highlights of this modern-age magazine.