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CTI Shrinks, Newsweek Notices


mrmando
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Newsweek's none-too-careful religion reporter, Lisa Miller, is at it again, proclaiming the death of Christian media in an article noting the closing of Today's Christian Woman and additional titles from CTI and other publishers:

Even the most committed Christians no longer have to shop only at Christian stores or buy only Christian media. "I don't shop at a Christian bookstore," admits Ginger Kolbaba, the current editor of TCW. "Not when I can go online."

Even more important, evangelical Christians are less willing to identify themselves as a coherent group embodying one set of values. As a result, it seems Christians are more willing to take their parenting and relationship advice from secular sources. "This next generation, they can read a marriage magazine or a parenting magazine and filter it through their Christian world view without saying, 'I need Today's Christian Marriage or Today's Christian Woman'," says Don Pape, publisher of trade books for David C. Cook, a Christian publishing firm. "I can pick up a music magazine and I don't need a writer to say, 'You will like this because it's a Christian artist.' I can do that myself. I think that's one of the issues."

Christians using their own discernment to guide their media consumption? That, I think, would sound good to most of us, if Pape is correct. But I guess this wouldn't be a Lisa Miller piece without a gaffe:

Now, though, Christian and inspirational stories are widely available in secular places. O, Redbook and Good Housekeeping regularly run the kinds of articles that TCW once considered its bread and butter. On her Web site, Oprah currently features an interview with Queen Noor of Jordan, in which the queen says that she and her husband strive to raise their children "like any other family." "The most important thing," she says, "is to instill [in your children] the right values."

One, Queen Noor's husband, King Hussein, is dead; two, Queen Noor converted to Islam before marrying him. If Miller's point is that the type of article formerly available in TCW can now be found in mainstream media, she needs to locate a better example.

Let's Carl the whole thing Orff!

Do you know the deep dark secret of the avatars?

It's big. It's fat. It's Greek.

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Tangent: Don Pape's in Newsweek? Awesome. (Don's the guy who changed my life, calling me one unforgettable morning to say he was interested in reading Auralia's Colors. And the rest is history.)

It's been a very tough month at CT. I've been in touch with several people there who have been involved in, and affected by, painful decisions. We should remember in our prayers those who are struggling and making sacrifices to keep some of these publications afloat in this economy, and those who invested so much heart and imagination and hard work in the publications that are going away. Whatever you think of their various publications, the organization does a lot of important work, and the recession's hitting them hard just as it's hitting the whole publishing industry.

Seems like every day I hear about another closedown of a newspaper or magazine. (Performing Songwriter is the latest.) I never imagined I'd see such a change in my lifetime.

Edited by Overstreet

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Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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Seems like every day I hear about another closedown of a newspaper or magazine. (Performing Songwriter is the latest.) I never imagined I'd see such a change in my lifetime.

JazzTimes, too?

I think CBA sales in general are hurting. My wife's publisher told her sales of their Christian books have been "dismal" across the board. Maybe it's just book from that publisher, but I got the sense that it was a more sweeping statement about the Christian retail environment.

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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It's not just Christian media, of course -- one of the article's online commenters rather snarkily cited Newsweek's own declining newsstand sales. I'd have to think that the economy and the migration to online media are the primary causes here, and that shifts in the attitudes of Christians are a secondary cause at most.

Many of us have complained about the evangelical ghetto; signs of its collapse engender mixed feelings on my part, if not whoops of enthusiasm. Again, if Pape is correct and more evangelicals are learning to filter mainstream media according to Christian values, then so much the better. But I've also seen examples of nominally evangelical people who don't seem to be aware of any distinction between Christian values and the values of mainstream culture -- i.e., they don't appear to have a filter.

Let's Carl the whole thing Orff!

Do you know the deep dark secret of the avatars?

It's big. It's fat. It's Greek.

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But it's sad. When people lose their jobs, almost everything that is considered non-essential gets jettisoned. And that certainly includes books, magazines, etc. My subscription to Paste Magazine is running out soon. I can't afford to renew it. I don't have a job. I'm struggling to make mortgage payments and buy food. Multiply that scenario ten million times, and you get some idea of why the publishing industry is in such dire straits. I feel bad about it, and I'm sorry people in the publishing industry have lost their jobs. But there's not much I can do about it, either. I'd like to tell the laid-off employees, "Come on over to my house. We'll hang out. The water's on me. Absolutely free."

Bummer about not having a job, Andy. Any prospects?

Yeah, I quit my job in August to pursue free-lance and then the husband lost his job in April. I can't renew my subscription to Image or Mars Hill Audio. I put my Netflix on hold and am borrowing movies from family and friends, and plan to hit the library tomorrow.

However, today I went to the local community college library near my house and checked out copies of the New Yorker. They have lots of other good reading there, too.

Where is the Life we have lost in living? Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?

--T.S. Eliot--
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But it's sad. When people lose their jobs, almost everything that is considered non-essential gets jettisoned. And that certainly includes books, magazines, etc. My subscription to Paste Magazine is running out soon. I can't afford to renew it. I don't have a job. I'm struggling to make mortgage payments and buy food. Multiply that scenario ten million times, and you get some idea of why the publishing industry is in such dire straits. I feel bad about it, and I'm sorry people in the publishing industry have lost their jobs. But there's not much I can do about it, either. I'd like to tell the laid-off employees, "Come on over to my house. We'll hang out. The water's on me. Absolutely free."

Bummer about not having a job, Andy. Any prospects?

Yeah, I quit my job in August to pursue free-lance and then the husband lost his job in April. I can't renew my subscription to Image or Mars Hill Audio. I put my Netflix on hold and am borrowing movies from family and friends, and plan to hit the library tomorrow.

However, today I went to the local community college library near my house and checked out copies of the New Yorker. They have lots of other good reading there, too.

Yes, libraries are wonderful places.

And no, no real prospects at this point. The primary issue is that there aren't any jobs. Well, there are, sort of. Every month or so a new technical writing/technical trainer/marketing communications specialist/eLearning developer position opens up somewhere in the state of Ohio, and I apply for it. The three or four openings I've seen have been in either Cleveland or Cincinnati, both two hours from my home. I'm qualified to do all those things, but I figure there are probably somewhere between 750 - 1,000 qualified candidates applying for each position. Perhaps that will change some day. Who knows? At any rate, I don't get called for interviews.

And so I've broadened my strategy, applying for positions like Pharmacy Technician, where I swallow my pride and agree to work for $11.00/hr., and note on the application that I have indeed completed my high school degree/GED. I don't get called for interviews for those positions either.

I'm trying to write the Great American Novel. What the hell. The odds of that happening are probably better than landing another job in corporate America.

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