For automotive journalism today is a sad day. Michigan-based Automobile Magazine has closed its office, 50% of its staff has been let go, and the Editor-in-Chief Jean Jennings has been fired.
Earlier this year, Source Interlink, which owns Motor Trend and Hot Rod magazines, has shuttered Modified magazine, and is rumored to continue this trend.
Jennings told Jalopnik that Automobile will close its Ann Arbor offices, leaving only a handful of employees, moving a few “cherry picked” people to an office in Royal Oak and moving the magazine to be closer to MotorTrend. Deputy Editor Joe Dematio will remain in the advertising office with a few other staff, while Mike Floyd will take over as Editor-in-Chief.
A group of former employees of Car and Driver led by David E. Davis founded Automobile in 1986 with support from Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation. Total circulation in 2013 was 563,635.
Unfortunately for many years print publications have been struggling to keep up with the ever-changing automotive media landscape and online publications have become the default medium of car news. Often limited in size and space, print magazines have a tough fight against online media and tablet-based content, and with most of the readers coming these days via referrals from social media and Internet searches, attracting a large audience is quite challenging.
On top of this, the cost to run an online magazine, blog, forum, is far lower, and with the right staff, many of those online entities delivered quality and professional content.
Moving forward we expect to see more traditional magazines focusing exclusively on online content with others betting on tablet format for their news.