[Print Lives On]

Happy New Year

We survived, but 2017 sure sucked didn’t it.

by Reviewer Rob

I should probably address this first — happy new year, by the way — before I get into any explanations. I recognize that especially after 2016, 2017 was a tumultuous year for many people, MOST people, probably. Stories in the news, and I won’t get into the list of them, floored everyone. Things happening in Washington D.C. that filtered down into the cultural ethos have been enough to make the most optimistic among us consider moving into a cabin in the woods.

In 2017 I wrote a blog post announcing the demise of Reviewer’s print version. That was impulsive and unwise. At the time it seemed like maybe an appropriate time for a big change like that. I had and have other ideas for print I could implement (it’s all about, you can guess it, the money) and I was planning to relocate to a different city (San Diego’s gotten really expensive to rent in if you haven’t noticed), perhaps move to a different region altogether. I was looking for a fresh start. But now I know after thoughtful reflection that I can’t abandon Reviewer Magazine like that. I have too much investment in the idea of The First Amendment to let these recent social shifts unmoor Reviewer as a print venue, even ones as cataclysmic as what have happened in the last year or even ten years.

So let me put that to rest right now. I’ve changed my mind. I can’t abandon this baby. Reviewer Magazine is NOT dead as a printed publication. It’s just taking a vacation.

When I announced it would cease printing but stay online as a blog I was juggling many conflicting plans and intentions and the magazine had been going consistently for 20 years and had printed 50 issues, and those seemed like nice round numbers at which to stop and make a change of direction. I had started the “review” format back in the mid-1990’s before sites that crowd-sourced reviews of everything from music and movies to your local plumber became common and the concept appeared revolutionary in its simplicity. I wanted to print a newer type of magazine after publishing 50 issues, delve into other types of print publishing. But I can still do that. I just don’t want to drop off Reviewer Magazine at the orphanage.

When I started Reviewer in 1996 it was on a small light board in my second floor one-room Pacific Beach studio apartment where I would layout the Bristol paper pages with scotch tape and shrunken typewriter copy I’d xerox late at night at the Garnet Avenue Kinko’s. It was in black and white and I didn’t know that photos had to be half-toned. The printer had to inform me of things like that. Issue one was printed at 10,000 copies and was as much of a thrill as I could imagine. Contributing to the community Zeitgeist via print is a feeling of fulfillment that comes from knowing you’re doing what you’re meant to do.

Everything journalism-related is a review anyway, be it feature, news, or opinion. “This is what we know now, this is what we don’t know yet” — it’s a structure that meshes well with the ‘who-what-where-when-why-and-how’ upside-down pyramid of the basic news story.

But although digital print production has grown considerably easier than cut-and-paste layout, the computer revolution changed the newspaper and magazine advertising economy in ways that many saw coming but few were willing to accept in the early days of the late-twentieth century. Oh, there’s still a market for print. It’s just a downsized shadow of its former self. If you can accept that and move ahead of it then you can still do the job and be happy. I choose to be happy.

So getting back to the point: Look for another print issue from Reviewer Magazine relatively soon in 2018. When exactly I’m not sure. But if you’d like a deal on an ad let me know. 🙂


Another year has gone and a new one has arrived. But it's hard to find anyone who is sad to see the sun set on 2017.
Another year has gone and a new one has arrived. But it’s hard to find anyone who is sad to see the sun set on 2017.

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