Friday, July 04, 2008
Another publication has slivered in to oblivion, tucked its thin, shiny pages and high-tech, glossy covers between its trembling bold-fronted legs, and kissed its ISBN number goodbye.
To be honest, though I have seen at least one issue of Woman's Scope Magazine--the issue its publisher left in our office bearing my name (though I had never written anything for her) as a contributing writer. I have never read it, nor visited the website, looked for it in a venue, or considered writing an article, letter or post to it.
The structure of publishing as an industry is crumbling, seemingly by choice. When I spoke with Woman's Scope's publisher Janet Leak, she was enthusiastic about the corners her magazine would turn if it could only make it through this rough patch which to her reflected the next three months and to me reflected the past twelve. I asked if she had a blog (I had assumed she had a website) and she didn't. Since we had spent a class discussing the benefits of blogging, I felt confident suggesting she allow her underpaid staff of writers the opportunity to blog using their articles as jumping points. It was an opportunity to extend the conversations their articles had generated and ideally an opportunity to use some of the research that was now cluttering their cyber waste baskets to foster a sense of readership and networking. She agreed, it would give her writers the exposure they needed to start build their careers.
She quickly scribbled my notes and suggestions, asking questions that made me wonder at her cyberbility. Excitedly, she agreed, it would give her writers the exposure they needed to build their careers. The idea, the entire concept seemed completely new. Perhaps that's when I began to worry about the scope of her endeavor.
Less than one month later her magazine folded, at least in print.
This could be an exciting time for her, a time of blogs and chats, of timely articles, interactive pieces and reader led (moderated) interviews. She could take her publication beyond the mortality of ink. But, she will only do that if someone, ideally a stable of underpaid, hungry writers, drags her by the wireless carrier of her choice in to the 21st century.