Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Save Paste

A week or two ago, the latest issue of Paste Magazine arrived in my mailbox, featuring the Decemberists on the cover. Having been raised around the magazine industry, I took one look at the paper quality of the cover and the thinness of the spine and said to myself "oh, crap."

If there had been any hope left, turning to editor Josh Jackson's column killed that off quick. Paste, like so many other magazines, is seeing difficult times, financially. The economy sucks and the media world is in a kind of limbo that we've never quite seen before. Everyone likes to throw around the phrase "newspapers are dead." That may be true in a sense-- as in, newspapers as we know them today, are dying, but nothing's dead yet.

Magazines are in a bad situation, but they just don't get as much attention when they struggle and eventually shutter. I think that the same idea is true for them, magazines as they are now probably will not make it.

That's why Paste's hardships trouble me so. Here's a magazine that is doing everything that any halfway savvy, J school professor or student would be harping on in the world of new media. Paste has a great website, they have blogs, videos, audio clips, photos, multimedia out the wazoo, they're using social media platforms, they're keeping their content fresh between issues, they offer incentives to the readers, they've diversified revenue streams. Essentially, they are doing everything that I have been told will save those of us going into journalism.

There's so much unfairness in the situation. I'm loathe to suggest that anyone deserves anything, but in this case I feel justified in saying that Paste deserves to see the end of this recession. It deserves to survive and carry on far into the future, continuing life as a publication we can look to for how to do navigate these uncertain waters of new media and as a standard for top notch music journalism.

And in a bittersweet example of why Paste needs to stick around, look at the effort they are making to save themselves-- a direct appeal to the readers. Reaching out to their audience. If you care, you can take some ownership. Donate. Stick a banner on your blog. Sign up for Paste V.I.P. Do something. My journalism classes are filled with talk of engaging the audience, bringing down the massive wall between us and them, because people will not stand for it anymore. They want to be pulled in and have a stake, so here's Paste putting their fate into the hands of their readers.

Though it may not matter much in the big picture, I'll say that Paste was a large inspiration for starting The Musically Inclined and as a journalism major, if Paste goes down, I feel a little like there's no hope. They sit at the top of the heap in terms of quality on all levels. This magazine means a lot.

Please don't let it die. There's a sky scrapper on the column. Click it. Paste is still alive and it's manned by smart folks who are going to find a way out of this. Help them.

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