By now, it shouldn't come as a surprise that print outlets are struggling to stay above water in an era of shrinking audiences and ad revenues. Even so, New York magazine and the New York Post are in a battle to see which outlet can be the first to write the pre-mortem on the other outlet's grim future.
The Post on Wednesday afternoon wrote that New York magazine was mulling a move to less frequent, every-other-week publications because of the magazine's many problems: declining print revenue, fewer ad pages, and stagnant circulation. Adding to that speculation were some evasive quotes from the CEO of New York magazine's parent company. "There is nothing definitive yet," he said, and added, "Over the past five years we’ve considered various options." Not exactly throwing cold water on those bubbling rumors, but then again, they are just rumors at this point.
Most importantly, the Post questioned whether or not the magazine's owners, the Wasserstein family trust, would continue to support the magazine if its decline continued. The magazine passed into the family's hands after owner Bruce Wasserstein died, a similar situation to what befell the crumbled Newsweek, a point the Post happily makes.
Ownership support is something the Post has not had to worry about. That is, it didn't need to worry about it until New York magazine posted an in-depth story in its issue last week on the declining newspaper, noting that the paper was losing about $50 million a year (!). The piece, titled "Post Mortem: A (somewhat premature) newspaper autopsy," questioned how long News Corp. mogul Rupert Murdoch would support the newspaper, and how long the rest of the company would after that. The answer: "We’re fine until the day after Rupert dies," the Post snarked, according to New York magazine.
So it goes in the constantly struggling print business, particularly in a city crawling with local coverage. Both the Post and New York magazine keep looking for that early scoop to beat the competition. But sadly for print-lovers, their eyes are only targeting the other flailing business.