Attaboy.ca

Over There (in the UK)

February 19, 2003 at 5 PM

Shift Into Reverse

The little magazine that could, Shift, will cease publication after the latest issue.

I'm not expecting to receive a rebate on my subscription (I think I paid $11 for two years); the demise was all too predictable. Shift's first problem was that it was a Canadian magazine unable to successfully break into the American market. Its second problem was that it was a little too irreverent to break into the Canadian market. Its third problem was that it was a fairly general interest magazine ("digital technology and culture") and it's almost impossible to make money in the magazine industry unless you are as big, broad and bad as Vanity Fair or have an earnest, loyal readership following your 500-copy Long Island Sandcastle Quarterly. No doubt there were fourth, fifth and sixth problems that I have failed to mention.

Still, I enjoyed Shift and their web site daily -- especially the Filter weblog where I discovered this news. At its best, the magazine offered clever to-the-edge-of-cheeky writing, original work by budding photographers, and a fresh perspective on the cool, the geeky and the geeky-yet-cool. Recent issues, however, seemed a bit sparse in content to me, suggesting the eleventh-hour ownership may already have been tightening the purse strings before snapping the clasp shut entirely.

You might call it another tech-industry casualty, but then Shift survived this long because of its editors and staff, rather than in spite of them.

In other gallows news, media ingenue Salon is having, um, financial trouble. Or is it?

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Previously: Onward March

Subsequently: Like, Omigod, Y’Know?

February 2003
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