Monday, January 23, 2006

Another One Bites The Dust

Via Romenesko, we are invited to mourn the passing of the "scrupulously fair-minded" monthly magazine Legal Affairs, which has tanked after five years. It was widely acclaimed by both the left and right as a vehicle for low-spin coverage of legal issues, and its articles have been cited by such authorities as the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Harvard Law Review. Editor Lincoln Caplan explains the logistical difficulties into which modern times have plunged so-called "thought-leader" publications:
For generations, the business model for thought-leader magazines largely depended on a combination of paid subscriptions and paid advertising. Increased competition for readers' time and the shift of advertisers over the past ten years to TV, the Internet, and other media have reduced both sources of revenue for many thought-leader outlets. With rare exceptions, the print magazines most respected as shapers of ideas, opinions, and perspectives either are maintained by wealthy owners who regard the publications as vehicles for participating in public affairs, or are supported by ideologically defined philanthropic contributions, or are struggling to develop new business models that will allow the magazines to maintain their vitality and independence.
Looks like Joseph Epstein was right about one thing: "reasoned cogency" sure doesn't reel 'em in like it used to.

EDIT: More on LA's shuttering from the Reality-Based Community's Steven Teles, who unlike me appears to have actually read an issue or two.