Unable to get snowboarders to actually stop and read their magazine, Future Publishing closed down this three-year-old title. There's just no action in action sports.
While it is admittedly difficult to find a slope to board on down here, and a Burton ski jacket would make me break out in a sweat, the Reaper is learning how to make his boat do a 360 in the water. I just have to be careful not to fall over and get my clothes wet.
1. The gravy train is over. The stock market is tanking worse than the buzz on M. Night Shyamalan's movie opening up this Friday, Bear Stearns was bought for a dime, and
other brokerages like Lehman are teetering. Merrill Lynch is raising
billions in capital to make up for shortfalls. The high rollers are
being laid off in droves and, whoops, there goes the audience that Doubledown has counted on.
2. Lawsuits cost money. Doubledown Media rode the press coverage for about five minutes about publishing former Met Lenny Dykstra's custom magazine for former athletes. Then they fell out of love about shirking contractual responsibilties, pointed a lot of fingers, and counter-lawsuits were filed. Number one argument among couples is money! Dykstra took his bag of baseballs to American Express, and now both parties are filling up Keith Kelly's column with accusations.
3. Freelancers are not being paid.
Put it all together and the Reaper is seeing this stock being taken "off the Big Board." Something has to give, so watch for at least one of Doubledown's properties to be de-listed.
Those are words to live, uh, die by. The NY Observer has the latest soap opera that is Radar magazine, but the Reaper would like to add a couple of points of its own.
* Departing Radar president Fred Poust was hired to sell ads, because that was his background at Time Inc.
* If the magazine has enough money "to stay put for a year," what happens after that? If Radar is "open forever," it'll probably be as a web-only entity, which has been suggested by just about everybody since it started publishing again.
* It does not make a difference if Ana Marie Cox contributes or Bryan Burroughs jumps ship from Vanity Fair, as long as they keep putting their biggest stories on their web site. Why buy the magazine?
* There are "52" full-time employees at Radar? That is pretty enormous for a magazine that does not even have 200,000 circulation yet. Oh, I think they were also counting the maintenance staff in that number too.
* How many art directors does it take to design Radar? I've lost count. It's been redesigned more times than the faces of "The Real Housewives of NYC." Could you imagine working at a media buying agency and being presented a new Radar redesign every few issues?
I was thrilled to hear about the re-launch of American Heritage, a
magazine I always loved to read and long wished to write for.
So with a story in the works that would be perfect to pitch, I
cruised over to their site and checked out their writer's
guidelines...only to find a stiff, tersley worded two-page PDF file
that, among other things, asks writers to use footnotes and
annotations, like on those papers you had to write in school twenty years ago.
Now I ask you, is a magazine that's editorial policy clings to
academic-journal standards really a serious candidate for increased
circulation outside of people seeking their master's degree in American
If you are going to re-launch, try re-launching in a way that doesn't look backward.