LOS ANGELES TIMES: For journalists, finding out that Editor & Publisher magazine is being shut down is a bit like discovering that a friend who’s a professional daredevil was killed in an accident onstage. It’s risky enough to be in the journalism business these days, and E&P doubled down on that bet: It was a magazine about newspapers. Now, its reporters and editors (for the print and online editions) will experience firsthand the disruption they’ve been chronicling for more than a decade. It appears that they received three weeks’ notice. E&P has been around since 1901, but it apparently grew out of a magazine called the Journalist that had launched in 1884. So its demise comes after 125 years in business, which is a pretty nice run, all things considered. MORE
WILL BUNCH: Then in 2002, something happened that changed everything. The Internet age was reaching full flower, and the newspaper business was accelerating, Thelma-and-Louise-like, toward the abyss, just not yet staring over the very edge. That year, Editor & Publisher turned its new editor, the man who would become its last editor, Greg Mitchell, and the seeds of a revolution were quietly planted.
There was already talk of “journalism reform” in the air in the early 2000s, but most of it was just that — talk, daydreams of pony-tailed venture capitalists riding to the rescue and funding sleek Web sites with lots of multimedia bells and whistles, even as the real-life world of newspapers plodded along trying to figure out who was left to make the cop calls that night. No one ever dreamed that salvation of the real passionate art of journalism would be a then-55-year veteran, the former legendary editor of the legendary (redundancy intended) 1970s rock magazine Crawdaddy, or that he would be aided by a tiny staff of like-minded pros like Joe Strupp and Jennifer Saba or that his main vehicle would be a creaky Web page which, to be honest, at times seems as far removed in user friendliness from a slick 21st Century Internet site as your kid’s Xbox is removed from Atari’s Pong.
The way that Greg Mitchell’s Editor & Publisher lit their flashlight to show a path for journalism out of that abyss was stunning in its simplicity. They didn’t spend hours at power lunches, fretting about making sure every piece was inoffensively 50-50 balanced or any other such distraction. They got up in the morning, went to their office in Manhattan, and they just…did…it. With a small staff and with so many problems in the world of journalism, E&P had a remarkable knack for honing in on, and reporting the heck out of, the few things that were most important, which were not pageviews and clickthroughs, but old-fashioned journalism that was both highly ethical and highly skeptical. They practiced it that way themselves, and they often went after the mainstream media charlatans who did not. MORE