March 4, 2024

Brighton Journal

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Popular Science is shutting down an online magazine in another sign of decline

Popular Science is shutting down an online magazine in another sign of decline

In another sign of its decline, Popular Science stopped publishing its online magazine, three years after closing its print edition, which it began in 1872.

Popular Science will continue to publish articles and videos on its website, and will continue to produce its own podcast, “The Strangest Thing I Learned This Week.”

But its digital magazine has been published quarterly ever since Started in 2021has ceased publication and will no longer charge for subscriptions, according to Recurrent Ventures, the magazine’s parent company.

Its latest issue is onlineTitled “Fake” It was published in September and included articles on taxidermy, artificial intelligence and fake crystals.

“Like most media companies, Recurrent is adapting to the evolving landscape of its audiences,” Cathy Hebert, a company spokeswoman, said in a statement Tuesday. “Whether it’s changing patterns in social media, increased consumer demand for video or changing advertising budgets – which have also increasingly moved towards video – it is clear that change is a constant theme.”

The decision came about two weeks later Axios reported, citing an unnamed source Recurrent Ventures has cut 13 jobs at Popular Science. Axios reported that only five members of the editorial board remained at the publication.

Ms Hibbert declined to confirm how many workers had left, but acknowledged “a reduction in headcount within many brands and operational teams”.

Recurrent Ventures has been going through its own period of change, as it recently announced Third CEO in three years. It was the company Created in 2021 By North Equity, a private equity firm, to manage Popular Science, The Drive, Domino, Field & Stream and other media outlets acquired by North Equity.

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The closure of the digital magazine has saddened and angered some former Popular Science staffers who point out that the magazine’s rich tradition of science journalism began 151 years ago and included articles by Charles Darwin, Louis Pasteur and Isaac Asimov.

Over the decades, Popular Science has explored photography, hovercrafts, gyrocopters, spaceflight, and the struggle for more legroom on commercial airplanes, all with an eye toward general reader interests. Even in recent years, it has won National Magazine Awards for “The Tiny Issue” about all things small, in 2019, and “The Tiny Issue.” Heat issue“, on climate change, in 2022.

The magazine was also known for making and making fanciful predictions about the future Strange do-it-yourself projects Such as a motorized “yard tractor” that could be made from a tool kit and a home-made “aircraft detector” that could detect enemy aircraft, which was introduced after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

“I am frustrated, angry and dismayed that the owners shut down a pioneering publication that had adapted to 151 years of changes in a five-minute Zoom call,” former deputy editor Purbita Saha wrote on LinkedIn. . She was discharged on November 13, she said.

“I have some talented colleagues who will still produce news, reviews and podcasts for, but PopSci will cease to exist,” she wrote.

The cuts came after National Geographic, another respected science magazine, laid off writers and other staff in a round of layoffs announced in April, months after several senior editors were laid off last year. Other media outlets, including Buzzfeed, The Los Angeles Times, Vox Media and The Washington Post, have also cut staff.

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Rick Edmonds, a media business analyst at the Poynter Institute, a school for journalists, said the end of Popular Science’s online magazine was another step “along the way to try to find some form that was less expensive and could engage a number of people.” Readers.”

He said it would be presumptuous to call it “the last step before the graveyard,” but added that it could be “difficult to rebuild and build an ad base.”

Jacob Ward, former editor-in-chief of Popular Science, said the online magazine’s demise “breaks my heart.” He noted that early printed editions had oil paintings on the covers, such as one he keeps at home of a man in protective clothing depicted on the edge of a glowing volcano.

He said Popular Science was “so beautiful, so historic” and “a real treasure trove of American popular intellectual publishing.” video Posted on LinkedIn. But he said it’s “just the kind of thing that gets thrown out in the minds of people who make money for a living.”

Joe Brown, who was editor-in-chief from 2016 until 2020, said getting rid of the magazine would make it harder to unify stories around a common theme, providing context that he said is missing in much daily journalism. He said he was concerned that remaining employees would have to “feed the beast” to keep the site up to date.

Given the recent layoffs, “I don’t see how they can keep everything the same,” he said.