The Zombiefication of Ladies Home Journal is Sad, But…

I had planned on banging out a few hundred words at some point in the next few days regarding the recent announcement that a venerable member of the “Seven Sisters” Ladies Home Journal was ending it’s run as a monthly. However, my more immediate concern was what that could do to front end configurations nationwide and how many new “Pay To Stay” check out plan-o-grams I might be called on to consider and pony up for. These are the things that keep me up at night.

Yesterday, after seeing some breathless articles about the LHJ’s relegation to the role of “Book-A-Zine” pop up in my feeds, I posted a rather snarky comment on my Twitter stream and earned a response from Beth Brewster, a lecturer and Director of Studies in the school of Journalism at Kingston University in London.

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Reflect on that for a moment, please. I just had a “conversation” with a professor in London, England. This is one of the numerous reasons I love Twitter.

Samir Husni, Mr. Magazine, and professor of Journalism at Ole Miss rightly pointed out on his feed:

There is more discussion on Samir’s account and I would encourage you to check it out if you’re not already following him (And if you’re not, you should). If you’re not following his blog, you should do that too. No doubt he’ll have something to say about this in longer form.

But I couldn’t have said it any better than the ever enigmatic D. Eadward Tree, proprietor of the Dead Tree Edition blog who’s posting this morning was titled: “Old Ladies Journal Sent to the Home”.  He kicked off his explanation of the events by saying:

“The 131-year-old “Seven Sister” title Ladies’ Home Journal was consigned today to the magazine industry’s version of the old folks’ home – “special interest publication.”

I’d invite you to follow the link and read the entire post. He points out that while the transition is a smart thing for Meredith, we do have to consider that people will lose their jobs.

Lastly, it wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t mention that while I was planning on checking out what Mr. Tree had to say, Bo Sacks got there first and included it in his daily e-blast. Along with that link was this thought from Bo himself:

“…the closing of LHJ has nothing to do with gypsy prophesies. It has to do with the nuts and bolts of a vibrant industry which, at worst, is in a transformational stage. Magazines have been born, lived a full life and died multiple thousands of times. It is normal, and what we have always done as an industry. We create, we make revenue and put mercifully to sleep those titles that no longer display the necessary sustainability for a healthy life.”

How can you not like someone who works the phrase “gypsy prophecies” into a column. Check out his entire stream of thought by following this link.

It’s encouraging that after years of living with the endless drumbeat from the fanboys and so-called “futurists” that we’re finally seeing the pragmatists and actual practitioners of this industry: Samir Husni, Mr. Tree and Bo, getting noticed for their push back against the conventional wisdom mongers. I for one, appreciate their ability to explain the life cycle of this industry.

Now if they could only solve the newsstand conundrum.




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