108-year-old Editor & Publisher going out of business

Venerable trade publication loses battle for survival

A going concern since 1901, Editor & Publisher -- "America's Oldest Journal Covering the Newspaper Industry" -- is going away a time when that industry continues to get smaller by the day.

From a memo issued this morning by the publication's owner, Nielsen Business Media: "We've made the decision to cease operations for Editor & Publisher and Kirkus Reviews. This move will allow us to strengthen investment in our core businesses – those parts of our portfolio that have the greatest potential for growth – and ensure our long-term success."

As I type, the news has yet to appear on the E & P Web site, although the causes can be seen throughout the all-too-familiar headlines there -- "Tampa Editor, Now Exiting, Had Stayed On To Help Amid Staff Cuts;" "Guild Unit Chair Among 'New York Times' Buyout Takers;" -- as well as others that show a defiant if less than plausible optimism: "Gannett: Readership, Revenue 'Bouncing Back';" "Tampa Tribune' Parent Sees Ad Spending 'Firming."

Or, as a Talking Points Memo reader reacting to the E&P news puts it: "Everybody loves to read it; no one wants to pay for it."

Having spent more than 20 years in the newspaper industry before joining Network World, it pains me enormously to see what is happening to the institution of print journalism, and now, to the long-time chronicler of that institution.

Those media bashers who gloat over these losses are sadly misinformed, and, in some cases, cruelly oblivious to the pain being suffered by journalists and their families.

Those who believe these losses won't matter are simply wrong.

(Update: The E&P site has now reported its own demise, ironically enough, complete with typo: "Editor & Publisher, the bible of the newspaper industry and a journalism instutution that traces its origins back to 1884, is shutting down, following an announcement by parent company The Nielsen Co. - December 10, 2009 12:13 PM ET.)

(Update 2: This is from E&P's own story about its closing and hints at a glimmer of hope: "The expressions of surprise and outpouring of strong support for E&P that has followed across the Web -- Editor & Publisher has even hit No. 4 as a Twitter trending topic -- raises the notion that the publication might yet continue in some form.")

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Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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