Dying Industry

In news that everyone’s already heard by now, it was announced today that Gourmet magazine has been shut down; its November 2009 issue will be its last.

This news is upsetting to me on several levels: I grew up in a kitchen overshadowed by the presence of nearly 30 years worth of Gourmet magazines; while I can’t presently afford a subscription to anything, I use Epicurious on a nearly nightly basis (it’s a recipe aggregate, culling recipes and articles from several sources but primarily from Gourmet and Bon Appetit).  However, this news doesn’t just affect me as a lover of food: it’s just one more indication that the field I’m struggling to break into (publishing) is morphing before our eyes.  My gut instinct is to use the word “dying” in an echo of the sentiment expressed by so many others, but I’m convinced that people still crave the written word, possibly now more than ever.

A few months before graduation, I asked my supervisor at the press where I worked as a student editor for advice on how to start out in the field.  She soundly advised that I not even attempt to apply at publishing houses: not only are most of them not hiring new employees, but for the most part they’re cutting staff and closing down.  Instead, she suggested that I look into web editing.

It’s a new world for publishing, as I’m starting to learn, and although my employment worries still loom into the foreseeable future, I find myself indescribably reassured that I now have my foot in the internet’s door. I desperately wish that Gourmet had been able to figure out how to turn a profit by integrating with the web.  I will miss their recipes, but I’m choosing to read their downfall as a warning: change now, or you will be lost and forgotten.

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