The Bright Side Of Magazine Armageddon

Oh, it's a terrible time to own a magazine. Advertising is falling and expected to plummet further. Everyone's laying people off, going online only or outright shutting down. But every editor worth his salt knows how to put a contrarian, positive spin on a dire situation. Time Inc. may be in the process of laying off 600 people, but, hey, the magazine group's executive vice president told Peter Kafka the layoffs are "pretty much" done, and if you're still employed with the company you probably won't get laid off between now and New Year's. Why, that's positively delightful! And dig the way Newsweek tried to positively spin a purported 1 million-copy-cut in its rate base:

Aside from the cost of maintaining such a high circulation, Newsweek would like to transition from newsmagazine to “thought leader,” something more akin to the Economist. “[Editor Jon] Meacham and [Time editorial director Richard] Stengel are both infatuated with the Economist,” the source said. “To get that ‘thought leader’ position, a million is the sweet spot.”

Newsweek isn't so much a business, you see, as a think tank. Being a large magazine is sort of gauche when you're trying to be a "thought leader," we imagine.

Then there's Esquire, whose ad pages have fallen further than competitors GQ and Details this year, but which Giorgio Armani totally gets, and hey don't forget the flashing electronic ink cover (look! something shiny!).

Sigh. Well, there's no getting through the holidays without a lot of denial, really. Same with a media depression, apparently.

(Photo via Kafka via b_d_solis on Flickr via the hands of our own Owen Thomas.)