Friday, December 02, 2011

Another One Bites the Dust

The picture above, of Kids Inspire Director Sue Jochim, was taken for Community Care a while ago, but there won’t be any more commissions or repro fees coming my way from that source. The current print issue will be the last - the next will appear online only. The award-winning weekly for care professionals is the fifth of my long-standing magazine clients to close this year.

Print is dying, slowly strangled by the move to the web of both advertisers and readers. Figures for the first six months of 2011 showed a decline in the magazine’s circulation of 21% year on year, to 32,568. Even that is deceptive: all but 4000 were distributed free. The free-to-view online version gets 300,000 visitors a month, carries classified ads and a subscription-based reference service.

Community Care’s difficulties were compounded by its being so firmly rooted in the public sector, heavily affected by government spending cuts. The closure means publishers RBI will make savings on printing costs and the net loss of seven jobs. The photography budget has been in noticeable decline for some time, and will no doubt diminish further. Not that long ago NUJ recommended rates were the norm: £70 for a quarter page, £100 for a half, etc.. These have already been replaced by cut-price agency deals, with payments commonly at a flat rate of £15 or £20. That may work for the big picture libraries, but not many photographers will find such rates viable. Even on the web serious photography needs to be adequately rewarded if it is to survive.

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