(Update: After reading this post, please click over to Infoworld for Ted Samson’s response.)
It’s been, what?, a week since IDG announced Infoworld is going web-centric and folding its print version. In what can only be described as historical revisionism at warp-speed, this “post-announcement” post titled “Magazines vs. the environment” by a senior editor of the “InfoWorld Test Center,” slams the “the world of traditional print publishing” for taking a “heavy toll on our planet” and attempts to put some enviro-chic spin to shutting down magazines.
Nowhere, and I mean nowhere, in the announcement by IDG was anything ever mentioned about the environment. That has not stopped Tom Ted Samson from trying to retro-fit a bit of green-messaging to the move by claiming that going online-only will “(reduce the) environmental impact (and that) is a welcome side benefit.”
But wait. In this well-publicized MediaShift interview, IDG founder and chairman Patrick McGovern not onlly provided many insightful business-case explanations for the decision, he even states that new print magazines will be launched if readers served on new websites want them. In other words, the “medium” of magazines was not vilified, and his explanation runs counter to the implication that magazines are a “versus the environment” thing. It is stated quite clearly that, despite being a “webcentric” media company, IDG plans to continue launching magazines in the future. Also, and I’m just guessing here, that many, many millions of dollars of revenues are still generated by magazines in the IDG family and the medium is still a powerful marketing tool for advertisers in those magazines, so as a company, IDG chose not to make the “anti-magazine” green message a big part of the official announcement. And I would guess that IDG — like most magazine publishers I know — is working with printers and paper companies to continue their innovation of environmentally-friendly products and processes.
Quote from “Magazines vs. the environment”:
“In short, InfoWorld’s move to an online-only publication makes a world of sense, not just from a business perspective, but from a sustainability standpoint. And while being kinder to Mother Earth wasn’t among the top-of-mind reasons for the move, it’s a healthy by-product — one that companies struggling with issues of efficiency and resource management can surely appreciate.”
Let me be clear. I am all for aggressive measures to lessen our impact on the environment. Heck, I’m seriously considering joining Scott Karp in paying an “environmental tax” by purchasing a hybrid car. And as I blogged last week and many other times, I’m an advocate for media companies being “web-centric” and only publishing print-based titles when they fit into the preferences of readers and serve purposes that magazines fulfill better than websites. However, in the specific case of retrofitting a green-reason for shutting down InfoWeekworld, please spare me the sanctimony.