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Farewell, Paste Magazine -- Founder and editor Josh Jackson suspends print publication


By Aaron Leitko

Paste has called it quits, at least as far as the print product goes.

In a meeting held Tuesday afternoon the Georgia-based magazine--which covered music, film, and the softer side of indie-rock--made an announcement to its staff that it was closing up shop, effective immediately.Yesterday, the word got out.

"We were running on fumes," says founder and editor Josh Jackson, speaking via phone. "Hopefully we'll be able to bring the magazine back someday, but we just don’t have the money for it." According to Jackson, Paste had secured enough money to stay afloat, but that the much needed cash fell through over the weekend.

That leaves nine of Paste's 12 employees out of work. And it's bad news for freelancers, too. "There are a lot of great, very talented writers who aren’t going to get paid," admits Jackson.

To some, this won't come as a huge surprise. Paste has struggled financially for the last several years and the magazine made several innovative attempts at staving off impending doom. In 2007 the magazine launched a Radiohead-style pay-what-you-can campaign, where readers could get a year's worth of Paste for whatever money they were willing to cough up, in the hopes that the growth in subscriptions would draw new advertising revenue.

The plan worked -- sort of. "I think we got 30,000 subscriptions from that campaign," says Jackson. "But the ad market dropped right after that. The model worked so we could make money on ads and then the ad money went away."

After that, Paste tried openly soliciting donations from its readers, hoping to buy enough time to find more secure financing. "The 'Save Paste' campaign allowed us to go one more year. It almost allowed us to get financed and keep going forward," says Jackson. "But we fell short of the goal line."

Like the ill-fated music mags Harp and Blender before it, Paste's remaining staff will now focus its attention on the magazine's website. "I think the website is an attractive property. We had 3 million page views last month," says Jackson. "Hopefully that can succeed and eventually bring back the print product as the economy turns around."

By Aaron Leitko  |  September 2, 2010; 9:30 AM ET
Categories:  News  | Tags: Paste Magazine  
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