That’s what Ivette/The Germanatrix suggests will happen as more print garden writers are laid off. The magazine Domino is folding (I had heard this), and thus, Ivette’s garden blog for them will also be no more. Ivette’s news came to us via Pam/Digging. We’ll miss Ivette’s fun blog; I hope she finds a home for her online writing real soon—and lets us know about it.
I’ve not really said much about these newspaper and magazine lay-offs so far; perhaps they are a bit close to home for me, as I edit one magazine and oversee a couple others as my fulltime job. I have no special insight here, but it seems to be a perfect storm for the print world, especially newspapers. Their circulation was already declining, and most of them are caught in an unfortunate paradox of having to put more resources toward their websites—which increasingly are the way readers experience their daily paper—though online advertising doesn’t even begin to justify this investment (in by far the majority of cases). And now, of course, ad revenues are shrinking for other reasons. Our newspaper in Buffalo is owned by one of the richest men in the world, but they’re still laying off.
As for magazines, this is a case of ad revenue declining. Companies are really afraid to spend money and that’s what keeps a magazine alive, sadly, not circulation. Your circulation could be in 6 figures, but without ads, forget it. Magazines are very expensive—though they remain popular with readers, unlike the print versions of newspapers. Ivette also mentioned that Martha Stewart Living laid off one of their top garden writers, Susan Heeger. I don’t know whether this was part of an overall downsizing or a targeted lay-off. I can say that garden-related businesses are slow to advertise in our market, no matter how much great garden coverage we run, and no matter how much our readers like it. I believe they have a more slender profit margin than the home-related side of the home/garden equation. (But I disagree that every category of editorial must have its corresponding ad support. Advertisers should buy for the look/feel/fit of the magazine as a whole, and the two worlds should be kept separate.)
The fact is that everyone is laying off. I feel bad for the garden writers who are losing their jobs, but they are not alone, and it’s not going to get better real soon. Sure, blogs can pick up the slack; we already are. But we better not expect to make much of a profit doing it! Not now anyway.
On that note, while checking Pam’s link, I also read her terrific post about blogging about garden companies for pay (without bothering to let your readers know). Check it out. I wondered about the connection; as garden companies decline to spend their money in print, are they going to be looking for more cheap PR from us?