Goodbye to Macworld, but Not to Those Who Made it Great

| Editorial

One of the mainstays in Mac publishing is no more. Macworld magazine will cease publishing the print version of its magazine after the November edition. It says the web version will continue publication.

The company also laid off most of its staff.

The news began breaking yesterday on Twitter, with several of Macworld’s editorial staff posting that they had been let go.

Roman Loyola tweets his lay off.

In addition to Roman Loyola, Macworld laid off Dan Frakes, Phillip Michaels and Dan Moren. Senior Vice President and Editorial Director Jason Snell announced he was leaving the company in a decision that had been made prior to the layoffs; Serenity Caldwell also posted that she had given notice last week, and would be leaving the magazine at the end of the month. Dan Miller posted that he would be “here for another month to assist with the transition.” Senior Editor Chris Breen apparently remains the only “big name” writer left with the publication.

Macworld magazine began its life with the introduction of the Macintosh and has published continually for over 30 years. There can and will be endless speculation about what led to Macworld’s decline and ultimate demise (at least in print.) The Internet, a less cooperative Apple, greedy and/or clueless corporate management, etc. But throughout its troubles, Macworld remained — for the most part — special, authoritative — the senior spokesman of the tech press. 

Macworld

That reputation came from its writers and editors, who were consistently professional, thorough and readable. They proved you could be a fan without being a fanatic, a reviewer without being a shill. In short, they proved the very motto of my other site, RandomMaccess: “Tech journalism is not an oxymoron.” That’s something all too easy to forget in today’s world of headline aggregation and sponsored content.

My first personal connection with Macworld was in the mid-1990s. I was the art director for a sporting goods company and I was looking to refresh our advertising. I spotted the masthead font that Macworld was using and thought it would look great in our newspaper ads. So, summoning up my courage, I looked up the art director’s name (long since forgotten, sadly) and called him up to ask him what font they used. Would he tell me? Was it some closely guarded secret? Would he even take my call? After all, I was just a lowly art director. He worked at Macworld. The Macworld.

As it turned out, he was just a guy after all. A particularly nice guy, in fact. The font was Aurora Condensed, he told me, and sure — anybody can buy it.

Years later, I’d have the good fortune to meet a lot of people at Macworld, and to become close friends with many of them. But I also got to know them through their work, and they were good at it. A list of Macworld alumni reads like a Who’s Who of technocrati: David Pogue, Andy Inhatko, Sharon Zardetto, Bob LeVitus, Ted Landau, Tom Negrino, Dori Smith…the list literally goes on and on.

Maybe shuttering Macworld magazine was inevitable, and perhaps the website won’t be far behind it. I wonder if big corporations make good webmasters; I think not. Perhaps the future of the tech web belongs to the small startup sites without shareholders or boards of directors.

It does, though, make me fear that we’re entering into a time of more superficial tech journalism. One where sites lack the resources to build labs and buy their own gear to test in them, or to send reporters into the field to cover stories first hand. Where “one amazing trick” headlines invert the inverted pyramid and act as linkbait to get eyeballs on ads at all costs.

But such are thoughts for another day. Today is a day for raising a glass to those who are moving on; for wishing them well as they enter a new, unknown chapter in their careers. Today is a day for hoping we see them again soon, both in words and in presence. And today is a today for mourning something great that’s now gone. Something that changed my life almost as much as the Mac did.

For while it was the Mac that showed me all the amazing things I’d be able to do, it was Macworld that played a big part in showing me how.

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Macworld may be gone, but it won't be forgotten, as its talented writers and editors bring their skills to new venues. As noted tech pundit Dr. Seuss once said, "Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened." We wish all the affected Macworld staffers the very best as they enter new and even better chapters in their careers.

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Comments

Lee Dronick

Interesting. Last month I received my MacWorld subscription renewal notice. Having been disappointed in the magazine content over this year I decided not to renew. For the time being I will keep my MacAddict subscription.

I can get timely product news and reviews on web sites such as this one. So what what would I want from a print magazine? In depth how-to articles, design and photography tips, that sort of stuff. Yes, I can also get that online, but it may be a viable print product.

Lee Dronick

Correction, not MacAddict, I meant to say Mac|Life.

Kenoodle

Thoughtfully written, Chuck.

paikinho

Just the name MacWorld brought up long lost memories of the smell of my favorite magazines Byte, Analogue, Antic.
I used to love just going into computer stores in the late 70’s early 80’s and smell the diskettes, magazines, and the off-gassing of many other scents of the early computer scene.
It is sad that MacWorld is going the way of much of print media, but it is the times. I will remember the way it all made me feel, peeling back the printed pages, smelling their scent, and reading each exciting article.

mrmwebmax

+

Truly sad, but perhaps inevitable that the print edition would someday fold. It was/is, after all, a magazine devoted to an audience of computer enthusiasts, many of whom, like me, have long since moved away from physical media. Ironically, of course, is that Apple, itself, has been at the forefront of ridding the world of physical media: no more floppy drive, no more optical drive, downloads via iTunes, App Store, and Apple Store. The world is online more and more every day, and may MacWorld find a new and lasting home there.

Zarko

Does this mean that the Pundit Showdown is looking for a new host site?

ctopher

Lee - I too am a subscriber to both MacLife and MacWorld. I don’t think I’ve received any communications from them about the shutdown.
‘tis a sad day. As a reader of Mac User, Mac Week, MacWorld, MacTech etc., I appreciate a paper magazine and I will miss it.

Chuck La Tournous

Thanks, Kenoodle, I appreciate it!

swmech

To those who worked at MacWorld, thanks and good travels.  From its first issue it was my go to source for both technical and general Apple information.  May not have always agreed with what I read, but respected the effort.  I must be of an ancient group [first computer and program was in 1964] but I still enjoy and need the printed copy.  Hope MacIlife can pick up the gap.  Again, to those who worked for some many of the years, thanks.

domsin

Just to echo the comments on this thread: I will miss the print version of MacWorld.  Chuck: Where can we find out where our favorite MacWorld writers go in the future?

Chuck La Tournous

That’s a great question, domsin—I’ll see what I can dig up and will try to post a follow-up article.

archimedes

Computer magazines haven’t been what they once were for some time, but it’s still sad to see Macworld go. Those folks were all great, and many of them were alumni of other great but gone magazines like MacUser and MacAddict (which survives as Mac | Life but without the attitude/content/CD that made Mac Addict so cool back in the 1990s!)

As you note, many Macworld alumni have already moved on. I think we are in the era where many varied and smaller groups of enthusiasts and creative folks will take charge of a more personalized but also more fragmented Apple community.

The paradox is that there are more Apple users than ever, but for some reason IDG can’t seem to make make Macworld/iWorld expo or Macworld magazine successful. Why is this? I think the answer goes beyond the obvious reason of the internet delivering most of the value of print media (and trade shows) anywhere, instantly, for free.

It used to be that Macs, iPods and iPhones obviously allowed you to do many things that you couldn’t do - or couldn’t do easily - on competing devices. Now, for better or for worse, much of the computing we do today can happen in any web browser - and Android phones are pretty decent iPhone clones (though many of my favorite apps are still exclusive to iOS.) Competition is great for users, and it forces companies to do their very best and/or to rapidly adopt good ideas or cut prices, but it seems that most popular computing devices (with some exceptions like Windows phones) these days resemble Apple products, regardless of who makes them. This superficial lack of differentiation has combined with the ubiquity of actual Apple devices to remove much of what was once a key rallying point for a global community of Apple enthusiasts - being, and thinking “different” - making it harder for the Macworlds of this world.

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