Say It Isn’t So, Slate


I’ve long admired the on-line magazine Slate for recognizing that gardening is part of life and including a gardening column within its "life" section.  It made Slate seem more clued-in than its paper competitors.

But now Slate’s gardening columnist Constance Casey reports that she’s been "ketzel-ized": her column cut for budgetary reasons.  She’ll still appear in Slate, just not as regularly.

Dear editors, what are you thinking?  In a world experiencing a wrenching recession, an energy crisis, a climate crisis, a food crisis, and an explosion of interest in growing food in the backyard–cutting the gardening coverage just seems stupid.

Maybe cut the shopping coverage instead?  Nobody, as far I can tell, is doing any of that.


  1. I believe that ‘gardening’ is perceived to be a non necessary life supporting hobby by the general public.
    Something in times of economic trouble that forces people to choose between what they ‘need’ and what they simply ‘want’.
    So when a publisher has to make cuts s/he is going to first slice off what is perceived as fluff.

    I too am in a mode of economic survival. Gone are my design projects of lux verdant estate style gardens with their swimming pools, tennis courts and plush plantings . Now in this current economic landscape I am reaching out to these past projects to see if I may maintain and manage them so that they retain and continue to provide a sense of value, both in terms of refuge and financial value.
    When the going get rough , the tough have to get creative.

    I hope Constance Casey can find creative ways to keep her writing alive and compensated for.

    Best of luck to all.
    Batten down the hatches, 09 is going to be a survivalist year.

  2. I suspect cuts are made to departments that don’t bring in enough revenue. As hard as it is for us to believe, gardening ads just don’t meet the bills – or so I’ve been told by some very industry-savvy people.

    It still stinks, though.

  3. This is why I enjoy freelancing rather being tied to a particular publication. The only “cost” to the publication is paying for the article.

    Then again it is a brave new world being out on your own. All aspects of American business has become victiom of “wal-martization”. The “brand” is everything. Even prime time news producers go to the boxes for home improvement incuding Danny Lipford who is too endowed by the big box sponsors to go to a local lumber/hardware yard where there are people who really know anything.

    Slates move just shows how the web has become commoditized by Wal-Mart and the like.

    Which leaves it up to us in the freelance cyber world to carry on the garden way.

    The TROLL

  4. What editors are thinking is that all these people who say they enjoy gardening news, and other news, are not doing much financially to support the gathering and publication of the news. when it’s on the internet, it might be free to the user, but it’s not for the people putting the news out.

  5. I’m not as concerned about gardening columnists being cut as I am about foreign news bureaus being cut. I can get news about gardening from local sources. What I can’t get is reliable news about what’s happening in, let’s say, Singapore (although yesterday’s NYT did have a good article about Singapore).

  6. But we are supporting the gathering of news by shopping the advertisers of said publications.
    Perhaps a note to all the publishers that unless we get garden or other recently dropped information we will not shop their advertisers?

    The (hates box stores)TROLL

  7. Constance Casey’s writing is superb and a voice we need for her insight, wisdom and passion about gardening. She bases her writing on her experience as a committed gardener, parks horticulturist, journalist and advocate for many things progressive. What a shame that Slate is cutting back on her gardening column. Should we be channeling some of our concerns to Slate?

  8. Before I go ballistic re this latest insult to us gardeners, do we know if there were other so-called “across the board” cut-backs at Slate? I can’t tell from visiting their site.

  9. I agree….the Slate editors must have taken leave of their senses or certainly have their priorities confused. Sad to see so many good things in this country getting cut back or eliminated….from funding for education to print journalism. Let’s hope 2009 will bring better times for everything in our country.
    Jon at Mississippi Garden blog

  10. Disappointed but not surprised. This is yet another soilder taken out in our battle to promote the importantance of gardening.

    As I write this comment, I have just received an email from Michael Sexauer, Executive Director of the Phipps Conservtory, in Pittsburg. It has been noted as the ‘greenest public garden in the world” yet he writes that as of yesterday, his position has been eliminated along with his assistant and two others. According to Michael, “the decision was made for “strategic budget reasons” in anticipation of a challenging 2009″.

    There will be many more professionals in the world of gardening and horticulture who will lose their jobs before our economy turns around. With media, as I have said often lately, the non-gardening media execs and the companies who buy advertising are the ones deciding that gardening isn’t important enough or hits their target audience enough to justify the expense of covering it, especially in times where budgets are being slashed.

    The comments have already been made here on how important gardening is, especially in times such as these. Advertisers and media execs may not get it, but we do. So, when one door closes, open another one. Thank God for the Internet, Garden Rant and everyone that has a voice on behalf of gardening.

  11. Sorry, just needed to correct myself on previous post. Michael Sexauer was Director or Marketing at Phipps but a very needed position at this moment none the less.

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