If print designers were feeling slighted by the recent trend of making magazines look more like web sites, I am sure they are woeful over the recent news that "BusinessWeek is combining its print and digital staff to create a single editorial operation".
Yet despite promises that the company is reorganizing in an effort to "better integrate its print and web products", the move will result in the laying off of a dozen or so business and editorial staff. The reorganization names eight “chief” editors to facilitate and cover areas of print and web along with a pair of managing editors—one print, one online—to “preserve the highest possible quality as [we] produce each product".
The results of this restructuring will either be likened to a Vulcan Mind-Meld or the mixing of oil and water.
And yet, I have to cheer on BusinessWeek. Though laying off staff isn't always ideal, and forcing graphic and web designers to play together isn't always easy, the publisher has been innovative in their strategies to reinvigorate the print publishing world. Taking cues from the web and redesigning their logo are among their most recent initiatives and so far it's been working: magazine readership is up three percent, newsstand sales are up 25 percent, and BusinessWeek.com set a record with 64.7 million page views in November.
But while Businessweek may seem to be turning their ship around, recent reports indicate that others are not as successful at navigating the volatile seas of print publishing. Though an exact number isn't easily determined, there were fewer new magazine launches this year than last.
And those that hold legendary status, like The Atlantic Monthly are cutting back---both in circulation and in name. Prepare to refer your favorite literary and cultural rag by its new name, The Atlantic, a move that the New York Post reports "comes as the magazine gets ready to uproot its sales and marketing staff in Washington, DC, and relocate 15 positions to New York".
With so much restructuring, let's hope that it's not just rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic, but rather actual strategy is being implemented.