“A Candle in the Wind”: Goodbye to 8020 Media and JPG…January 2, 2009
Last October I interviewed Mitchell Fox, President and CEO of 8020 Media the publishers of 8020 Media. He shared with me his plans for the future of the company and promised to keep me posted on the latest community additions to the company that they were ready to make in the near future. However, in what seemed to be prophetic now, he told me “It is infinitely more complicated to produce a good magazine, distribute it, and sell it, than it is to just get a blog up and running.” Well, early this morning I received a note from Mitch addressed to Friends of 8020 Media that shows how difficult it is to produce and publish a good magazine. Under the subject-heading “Goodbye to 8020 Media,” here is the entire letter from Mitch:
January 2, 2009
To all of our friends,
In the face of these extraordinary economic times, in a devastated advertising climate, we can no longer continue to operate the business due to lack of funds, and hence we have to close 8020 Media effective immediately.
There is no doubt that our company has done what no others have yet to do…that is, prove that the web and print can work effectively together, one supporting the other.
We’ve also proven that community generated media CAN be a powerful thing…and it can create spectacular media.
The riddle of having a sound web platform support that drives interactivity with a print product has been solved, however, none of us could have predicted the global economic collapse we’ve witnessed in the past few months. So our timing to grow the business and bring it to profitability through even the smallest amount of additional funding could not have been worse.
So, while we sit here at the precipice of profitability, the negative marketplace forces are too strong to overcome, and we must take this regrettable action.
It remains undeniable that the publishing industry MUST find a new model, and mass collaboration and participation in the media property is certainly now proven it can be the foundation of this new model (NOTE: This is NOT citizen journalism).
We’ve cracked the code on marshaling a community around a media property online and in print….and helping them become active , loyal, and engaged participants in both.
We do owe a debt of thanks to Minor Ventures for believing in us, and funding us to this point and to have even given us a chance to make this business successful, and for that confidence we’ll always be grateful.
There is a lot to be learned from the 8020 Media experiment and the two magazines it published JPG and Everywhere. However, it is important to study the early stages of 8020 or what I call the “love affair” era and compare it with the “institutionalization” of the company in the last year and a half. I am a firm believer that JPG was the “candle in the wind” that will be remembered as the first magazine to utilize the web to innovate in print, and innovate well indeed.