From the Editor: Some Perspective on the New Year
"The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn."
I love this industry. I've been a part of it for 15 years. I believe in the power of print, and I am sure this is why I was once called an "old-school, print cheerleader," or something like that. I know it was meant as a criticism, but I didn't take it as one. However, it would be more accurate to say I am a publishing cheerleader. I want publishers to succeed in print, online, with digital content, video, mobile content, events, data products, lead generation, wherever, whatever. … And I believe they can.
But I have my moments where cheering is tough.
This has been one of the most difficult periods in publishing history. We are seeing brilliant editors and writers, and manufacturing, production, circulation and sales executives—friends and respected colleagues—in the unemployment line or holding odd jobs, such as working at supermarkets, just to pay the bills. We are seeing publications we know and love close their doors. We are seeing our vendor partners struggle. It's disheartening to say the least.
But thinking back on some of the publishing companies and publications we've covered just in the past few months provides a dose of optimism:
• Hoffman Media—seeing ad-page and ad-revenue growth for Cooking with Paula Deen, among other titles;
• Food Network Magazine—rapid circ growth from 300,000 to 1 million in one year, and frequency growth from six to 10 issues;
• FADER Media—offsetting print-revenue decline with significant growth in online and events; TheFader.com traffic more than doubled from September '08 to September '09; revenue more than quadrupled;
• Canon Communications—offsetting the bulk of losses (ad pages dropped about 30 percent in Q1) in print-ad revenue with growth in its events business—55 percent of the company's revenue, including launching two new shows in April;