Vin Crosbie (who knows more about this than I do) says that the Web didn’t kill Editor & Publisher as a weekly. He blames by poor management by VNU.

I confess, I haven’t read E&P since 1996. So, I was alarmed to read Vin say that the magazine declined under the management of VNU. Really alarmed. In the 90s, before they were bought by VNU, E&P was arguably the worst trade magazine in America.

He then makes two excellent points:

  • Circulation declined under VNU.Surely a big part of this circulation decline is due to the Web. I’m not the only person who has stopped reading the weekly trades because they no longer contain any news.
  • Advertising was decimated by too-high ad rates and advertiser migration to the production-specific magazine Newspapers and Technology. I can hear the pitch now: “Why waste money to reach an audience who don’t have any purchasing authority over presses/paper/computer/services? And why pay to reach them four times a month?” I’m already reaching for my checkbook. That a humble industrial trade like Newspapers and Technology can bring low the mighty journal of journalism itself is a symptom of the decline of newspapering as a American endeavor.

There is no reason for E&P to be weekly. That didn’t serve its readers and it didn’t serve its advertisers. E&P barely has any reason to exist as a monthly, now that the industry is milling about waiting for permission to become a subsidiary of the NAB.

E&P has been drawing dead for a decade or two. It would have been doomed by the consolidation of the industry even if the Web hadn’t made weeklies irrelevant, or VNU hadn’t stepped in to manage its decline. But today, every weekly trade in America needs to think about whether they’re on the right frequency.