Friday, December 11, 2009

Greg Mitchell Speaks to CJR About Editor & Publisher's Demise

Greg Mitchell spoke with Columbia Journalism Review assistant editor Greg Marx about the quick death of Editor & Publisher.

CJR: Did you guys see this coming? It certainly came as a surprise to us, hearing about it.

Greg Mitchell: It was kind of a shock to us, only tempered by the fact that for the past month there had been online reports that there was some sort of deal that Nielsen was about to sell a bunch of magazines. And according to the reports, we were part of that deal; in other reports, we weren’t.

So it wasn’t a shock in the sense that we knew something was boiling, and that quite likely there would be some kind of sale. But we thought either we would be part of the deal, or we would be left behind and that would be OK, too. But not that we would fold this quickly, and with no online [presence]. It’s just sort of totally ceased publication.

CJR: So the Web site is going to disappear entirely?

GM: Unless there’s an outpouring of support and outrage, and people step forward, which could certainly happen. As of now, we’re here until the end of the year. We can come into the office until the end of the year; we’ll be at our phones and our desks, staying together. But there’s absolutely no plans for Nielsen to print the magazine or keep the Web site going.

CJR: What’s the general mood like there?

GM: Again, I think people are shocked. It’s a weird situation here—Nielsen owns forty-some magazines broken into three different units, and we were part of the unit with the magazines that have been sold, Brandweek and Adweek and Hollywood Reporter and so forth. And this all happened at the same time, so you have dozens of people on the same floor here being taken into meetings about their new owner, and trying to figure out what’s ahead for them. And at the same time, we’re hearing that we’re ceasing. So it’s kind of a strange day.

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