The funeral dirge for newspapers continued as the 150-year-old Rocky Mountain News published its final edition last Friday. The casualty list is sure to grow. The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz summed up the dire signals in his State of the News story today: "Newspapers are killing sections and closing bureaus, particularly in Washington. The Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press have cut back home delivery to three days a week. The Washington Times has dropped its Saturday print edition. The Christian Science Monitor is switching to Web-only publication in April. Gannett Co., publisher of USA Today, is forcing staffers to take a week-long furlough. Hearst plans to close the Seattle Post-Intelligencer unless it gets a buyer."
So it seemed somewhat incongruous to learn that 8020 Publishing—purveyor of the lush, user-generated photo magazine, JPG Magazine—had found an investor that would allow it to keep trucking. Former CEO Mitchell Fox, wrote in an email that a joint venture between camera retailer Adorama and private investors had formed "for the purpose of executing on the unique vision that led to the creation of JPG Magazine, jpgmag.com and everywheremag.com." Was it a fire sale? Possibly. Fox has said 8020 had lots of suitors, but they evidently weren't serious enough to keep 8020 from shuttering earlier this year.
But who cares? The fact remains that JPG—the magazine and the vibrant community around it—provides a robust model for how communities and publishers can collaborate to create compelling content. In these most grim of times, newspapers could do worse than to follow its lead.