Although I’m an online publisher, I think that anything that signals either a drop in public interest in gardening – or a drop in publisher interest in publishing magazines about gardens and gardening – is bad, bad news for everyone who loves gardens.
Pacific Magazines (part of Seven West Media) which published Your Garden has also announced the demise of two other print titles, Practical Parenting and Bride to Be, although these will live on as digital publications.
Your Garden has been published for 60 years and was considered by many Australian garden-lovers to be one of our best garden magazines, with its in-depth articles and high class photography. Although its sales had suffered in recent years, as with many print titles, its readership had steadied at around 40,000.
Pacific Magazines CEP Peter Zavecz said:
“The decisions announced today are part of a transformation process at Pacific which creates a more sustainable, future-focused business with stronger competitive advantage.”
The closing of Your Garden magazine is particularly poignant for GardenDrum. Back in late 2010, around 20 of Your Garden‘s regular freelance contributors stood up to Pacific Magazines and refused to sign new contributor contracts which demanded that both writers and photographers give the publisher their copyright as well as indemnify it against all actions that might arise from their published words. This meant that the combined skill and experience of many of its most highly regarded contributors disappeared instantly from the magazine, dealing it a severe blow.
However Pacific Magazine’s loss became GardenDrum’s gain, with several of these wonderful and knowledgeable garden experts like Helen McKerral, Arno King, Phil Dudman and Jan Hintze becoming key contributors to the fledgling GardenDrum when it launched in November 2011.
But this news makes it a bad day for independent journalism and gardening, and I am sad for the editor, staff and current contributors.