These are tough times for newspapers and magazines. Print circulation is declining, readers are increasingly going to the Internet–specifically social media sites and mobile apps–for news and the whole advertising business model that has sustained journalism for decades is breaking down.
“And with ads declining at a steep rate, newspapers (and magazines) are trying to turn toward readers for digital revenue at the same time that they have denuded their products of much of their value,” David Carr wrote in the Aug. 11 New York Times. “It’s a little like trashing a house by burning all the furniture to stay warm and then inviting people in to see if they want to buy the joint.”
In a way, this is what MANA Magazine–a Honolulu based bi-monthly that focuses on Hawaiians and Hawaiian culture–is doing. According to a news release the magazine sent out the same day as Carr’s Times story, the magazine is ditching its print publication and focusing solely on the web. According to their Aug. 11 news release, this is actually a good thing.
“One of the things our editorial team struggles with is deciding what to cut to make our stories fit within MANA’s printed pages,” editor Ke‘opu Reelitz said in the magazine’s Aug. 11 news release. “With this new digital format, we’ll be able to share with our readers much more of the rich content that previously ended up on the cutting room floor.”
Cedric Duarte, a spokesperson for MANA, said that the magazine’s financial situation is actually good now. “MANA has not made any staff cuts or reductions over the last two years and there are no plans to do so,” he told me. “In fact, some of the cost savings from the printing of MANA may be allocated into creating more rich content for our readers. As with any media outlet, financial considerations come into play for any making any business decision. Subscriptions have grown at a steady pace and we’ve have [sic] tremendous sell though at various newsstands throughout the state.”
As for how many of their readers transition over to the web with them, that remains to be seen.
You can check out MANA Magazine at Welivemana.com.
Photo courtesy MANA Magazine