Surviving as an independent publisher in the digital age

Dec 6, 2017

My Economy tells the story of the new economic normal through the eyes of people trying to make it, because we know the only numbers that really matter are the ones in your economy.

Today’s installment is from James Fox-Smith, owner and publisher of Country Roads Magazine:

I'm James Fox-Smith, publisher of Country Roads magazine, which is a regional independent media publication covering the cultural life of south Louisiana.

Business is surprisingly good. Perhaps the reason that our particular kind of media is doing better than some of the national and international print products is that we have a very closely defined interest area and there is still something that the internet doesn't do very well, which is provide people with well-curated, local information about a product or an area of interest that is particularly important to them.

Now I mean, if we go back to 2012, 2013, at the time when particularly the digital media audience was growing exponentially and particularly the transition to mobile, where a lot of media and a lot of the audience was moving to, that was a very difficult transition for a lot of small independent media to make. It really wasn't clear to us how we would respond to those changes and evolve in a way that served our readers as well as we could do on paper. 

My resume, when we came to this, was thin to the point of emaciated. I was a pretty good dishwasher, I was quite a good ski bum and beyond that I hadn't had a whole lot of experience. My wife has always very much felt that she can never imagine working for somebody else, and after 22 years of doing this for ourselves, I think at this point, I scarcely can either. 

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