JazzTimes magazine announced today that it will come back to life with an August issue. A post on the magazine’s web site says that a Boston company, Madavor Media, has acquired JazzTimes. It describes Madavor as “a market-leading enthusiast publishing and trade-show group.”
Jazz Times announced in early June that it was temporarily suspending publication. A New York Times report today says that Madavor bought the JazzTimes brand and assets from publisher Glenn Sabin. Sabin’s father, Ira, founded the publication in 1970 as Radio Free Jazz, a newsletter that he transformed into a tabloid-sized paper and, 19 years ago, a slick magazine that reached a circulation of more than 100,000. JazzTimes won this year’s Jazz Journalists Association award as best jazz magazine, an honor it received for several years.
The New York Times story quotes JazzTimes editor-in-chief Lee Mergner as saying that contributors will get fees the magazine owes them. Mergner told the Times that he and managing editor Evan Haga will remain aboard and use the same staff of free-lance contributors.
More than a month ago, we wrote:
With the suspension last year of the Canadian magazine Coda, the absorption of Britain’s Jazz Review by Jazz Journal and the conversion of JazzIz to a quarterly, jazz listeners’ choices of major print information about the music are disappearing fast. The question, unanswerable at this point, is whether web sites and blogs can provide the same depth and width of coverage generations have received from jazz magazines. This is a small manifestation of the larger challenge facing free societies as newspapers shrink or disappear. A democracy can only suffer from diminution and fragmentation of the flow of information upon which we base our judgments.
Let us hope that JazzTimes survives its reorganization. More important, let us hope that we do not lose news organizations serving mass audiences. They help bind us together.
Congratulations to JazzTimes.
It’s all well and good that Jazz Times is back up and running — but let’s not kid ourselves that it was some kind of paragon of principled, impartial journalism.
Jazz Times may be a big magazine that reaches a lot of eyeballs, but it’s not like it’s the BBC or CNN, giving some grand, wise and comprehensive take on the jazz world. As I point out in my recent response at Lubricity, the purchase by Madavor suggests that the focus will be shifted even more towards a calcified, status-quo perspective geared towards collectors or veteran band directors. There’s nothing wrong with that, as long as nobody is pretending that they’re the jazz world’s paragon of reason and impartiality.
Mickey Horwitz says
At first blush, this sounds like good news for readers. However, Howard Mandel’s latest post reveals that the new owners are going to pay freelancers only 50% of what they are owed for articles already published.
That doesn’t bode well for the future of Jazz Times. It further solidifies the view that so many writers already have of publishers. “Give it to us for free” or “Give it to us for half-price” equals the same thing: disrespect towards those who make a magazine what it is.
How disappointing, to say the least.
Hopefully, the new owners will rectify the situation ASAP. I, for one, will not support a magazine refuses to pay its writers what they are due.