A rather startling and sad announcement has spread across the news over the last few days; the automotive press has been rocked by the cancellation of a dozen nationally known magazines and many writers, photographers and editors are now out of work.
This announcement by Source Interlink, the company that produces a huge number of automotive magazine titles, hits very close to home as my first real publishing job was at one of the cancelled titles and one of my favorites too. It was a dream job for me to land a job at High Performance Pontiac magazine back in the early ‘90s. As I have written many times before, I’ve been a Pontiac guy all my life. Additionally, I have been known to tell a story or two as well. Being able to combine those two things AND get paid for it? I was living the dream.
Life takes us in different directions and after an all too brief time, I was out of the publishing game. But I continued to be a voracious reader of automotive magazines even when the Internet and the advent of the “digital subscription” scheme came into being. There is something about holding those printed pages in my hand that I just like…the feel, the smell, something. And the irony of me waxing poetic about the printed page on my Internet page is not lost on me. The web is an amazing thing. The vast stores of knowledge on it and the immediacy of sharing it could not be touched by the printed page. But there will always be something about those blotches of ink on those slivers of wood pulp.
Anyway, along with High Performance Pontiac magazine, Source Interlink is also discontinuing Popular Hot Rodding, Rod & Custom, Custom Classic Trucks, 4 Wheel Drive & SUV, Mud Life, 5.0 Mustang, Modified Mustangs & Fords, Camaro Performers, GM Hi-Tech, Import Tuner and Honda Tuning. These titles are being rolled into other magazines that the company feels can deliver similar content.
Now, as much of a bummer as it is to lose these magazines is, being a former employee myself, I think about all the wonderfully creative people behind these titles. Writers, photographers, editors, managing editors, art directors and all the other people on the masthead are now out of jobs too. My heart goes out to those folks because along with losing their livelihood, they have lost something they are passionate about too.
Media is a crazy business. As it rushes to embrace new technologies that will make delivering its product cheaper and faster, something gets lost. I’ll dare to call it a miracle, a really small one, sure, but never the less a miracle. From a creative spark in the synapses of a writer’s brain, to the capturing and corralling of light into an image, to the creative process that arranges the words and pictures, to the depth of knowledge that makes the words right, to the presses that print it and the network that delivers it to your mailbox, there is a little miracle there.
And what was once an occasion, that reaching into the mailbox and pulling out the latest issue of your favorite magazine, that minor celebration as you absorbed the cover and reveled at the promises it made, will be no more. “My” magazine is gone…very depressing.