Withering Magazines

In the mid- and late-1990s, Fast Company was my favorite magazine. Every issue was interesting, and was as thick as a phone book, packed with slick ads … until late 2001 when the tech bubble burst and the ad market crashed.

Pretty soon, the phone book resembled a flimsy brochure and, for whatever reason, the magazine itself just lost its groove, and I eventually decided not to renew my subscription.

This weekend the May issue of Wired landed in my mailbox and my first thought was “Oh, no. It’s Fast Company all over again.”

The last few issues have been incredibly thin — in content and in heft — and I’m afraid my favorite magazine is heading in the wrong direction.

Its content isn’t as good, except for a few regular columnists, and it seems to me Wired is trying to figure out what it wants to be. (Like Fast Company did when the early ’00s saw fewer startups to hype.)

Here’s the difference: The real reason I subscribe to Wired is so that I can get unlimited access to its website, which is my browser home page.

Every day the staff is cranking out really good material, so much so that the print edition is an afterthought. Sorta.

Magazines have always been a big part of my reading diet, and that’s why I’m easily spooked by indications one of my go-to’s is withering away.

In this case, though, if Wired doesn’t beef up its print pages I feel thismuch better knowing the web edition is a vibrant and viable alternative.

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