Last week’s news that IDG had laid off most of Macworld’s staff and cancelled the print magazine hit me pretty hard. I had originally wanted to write a “eulogy” of sorts, but I don’t have that in me. I also feel that it isn’t my place to do so. If you want that, check out Chris Breen’s Letter of Recommendation.
I believe IDG made a mistake last week, but it wasn’t in canceling the magazine. Print media is struggling everywhere (I personally avoid anything in print when I can), and if they needed to cut costs, that seems like a logical (though still depressing) choice.
Their mistake, in my opinion, was letting go of their amazingly talented staff (and with them, the good will that they had built up over the decades). To me and many others, Macworld was the name in trustworthy Mac journalism. When the staff was laid off, suddenly Macworld meant nothing to me. It didn’t take me long to realize that “Macworld” is just a name. It was the staff that I trusted.
They could have built Macworld.com into the premiere Apple news site. Good content is worth paying for, but I never found the content behind their paywall to be particularly compelling, especially if one already read the print edition.
But now it seems it will become just another Apple blog. They may someday earn my trust again, as many Apple blogs have, but it will take time.
Thinking of the new Macworld reminds of the decline of MacAddict. In the mid-90s through mid-2000s, MacAddict was my favorite Mac magazine. I trusted it. I enjoyed every issue. In 2007, they changed their name to Mac|Life, and gutted the magazine of all its personality. It became generic and, in my opinion, not worth reading.
I fear Macworld.com will feel similarly gutted. The writers, editors, photographers, etc, created the personality of Macworld. Time will tell if a rotating roster of freelancers can create a new personality worth following. Freelancers, please don’t take this as an insult, as I’m sure many of you are very talented. My fear is simply that Macworld will feel like an Apple news aggregator, and I’m not interested in that right now.
The Apple community is much larger than we once were, but we’re still highly discerning and opinionated folks. We care not just about the contents of our news articles, but about the bylines as well.
So to everyone who has ever worked for Macworld over the last 30 years: the writers, editors, photographers, videographers, administrators, testers, contributors, etc, know that for whatever time you were there, you did a hell of a thing. You are part of an amazing legacy. To those who are still at Macworld and those who will be, I hope you give them your best work and start building a new legacy. Best of luck to everyone.