As everyone [and no-one knows] Press Gazette passed away around 6pm last Friday. It had been ill for some time and had only been kept alive recently via an unsustainable cash drip. It was a spirited act of CPR by all hands at the end, but finally the big Goodbye Switch had to be flicked. It is sad, but, as with any expected death of something you care for that is in pain, there is also a sense of relief.
PG will always have an affectionate place in my cuttings heart. My early pieces were a fun departure for me and I am happy with most of my interviews of the past year. I’ve just totted up that I did 37. I have the crow’s feet to prove it. Setting up all those interviews was an exasperating, energy-sapping, solo siege, the grim details of which I will spare you. Hence, I shall not miss a moment of that Herculean task, but no regrets here. “Press Conference” was fresh, it worked, and I am pleased about that.
Let’s be brutally honest, though, very few tears are being shed at PG’s demise within the journalistic community (er, is that one of them oxymoron things?!). In general, I wouldn’t say journalists are prone to sentimentality over such things. We have tougher, more immediate things to deal with. It is inescapable that PG failed because people didn’t want to pay for it. Journalists love a freebie, which is why the queue for PG in newspaper offices was always long. I haven’t seen each new edition of a magazine waited for so patiently by so many since, well, boarding school.
I can’t help but think there is a dark, foreboding irony that the newspaper industry’s trade magazine should fold at this time, when the nerves and belief of journalists are being shredded by dramatic changes across the business. Take-overs, sliding circulations, receding ad revenues, cost cuts, death. What could prove to be a metaphor for newspapers across the land has just happened in microcosm with Press Gazette’s hollow death. And it all happened with barely a shrug.
This is the way a trade mag ends,
Not with a bang, but a whimper.