Standard Media International Inc. said Thursday that it would suspend publication of The Industry Standard, the weekly magazine that has chronicled the dramatic highs and lows of the Internet economy.
The company will continue to publish its Web site, TheStandard.com, and will retain a small editorial team while it seeks a buyer. The company likely will file for bankruptcy protection, and most of its 180 employees will lose their jobs.
“This is a very sad day for everybody who has helped make The Industry Standard a great publication,” said Jonathan Weber, the magazine’s editor in chief. “We’re very proud of what we have accomplished, and we’re hopeful that the magazine and the Web site will find a new home.”
The Standard was a victim of many of the same forces that have so damaged the companies it covers. Launched in the spring of 1998, the print magazine grew in leaps and bounds along with interest in the technology-driven economy. In 2000, the magazine set an all-time publishing industry record of 7,558 advertising pages, and the company aggressively expanded its online and conference operations.
The Standard’s journalism was highly regarded, as well. The Web site was nominated for a National Magazine Award in 1998, and this year, senior writer Gary Rivlin won the prestigious Gerald Loeb Award for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism for his 1999 story “AOL’S Rough Riders.”
The biggest issue of the magazine was more than 300 pages, but recent issues have struggled to reach more than 90 pages. The worldwide pullback in advertising sales that has hurt media properties of all kinds was especially damaging to technology-oriented publications such as The Industry Standard, and revenues fell dramatically.
The Industry Standard remained 19th among all magazines in terms of ad pages for the first half of 2001, according to the Publisher’s Information Bureau, ahead of Barron’s, Newsweek, Martha Stewart Living and Vanity Fair. It was also ahead of competitors Red Herring (41st), Business 2.0 (63rd), Fast Company (89th) and eCompany Now (121st). But The Industry Standard also secured a spot at the top of a less enviable list – for 2001, the magazine was first in loss of ad pages and revenues.
Standard Media had been in financing discussions with its board, including majority owner International Data Group, and had expected to reach an agreement. But when those discussions broke down, it was forced to suspend publication.