ANDY FISH is a comic book artist

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


It was with great sadness that I learned the Boston Phoenix was shutting down after 47 years as a free weekly.  They'd recently switched to a high glossy magazine format which was really nice, but unfortunately it just wasn't enough to sustain them.

Veronica and I have both done a lot of freelance work for the Phoenix, of late more her than I but it's more than just a financial loss for us, it's a loss into the world of culture and entertainment that the Phoenix did so well.

Sadly, I'm not surprised.  The old publishing models don't work anymore.  Advertising revenues are way down, the days of The Daily Paper being your first choice to find a great deal at a yard sale have long since gone with the advent of the internet.

I wish the Phoenix could have figured out a way to survive digitally, lessening the print expense but maintaining a broad readership.

Even sadder still, I wake up each morning with the expectation of hearing from dear friends that they've been put out of work with the closing of The Telegram, The Globe or WoMag-- any of which is possible any day of the week.

Here's an interesting little tidbit for newspapers;  the reduction of the comics section and the decline of the continuing serial strip reflects the same rate of loss of readership.  Coincidence?  Maybe not.  In the heydays of newspapers Comic Strips remained a valuable part of everyday readership-- you had to find out how Dick Tracy got out of his latest spot.  More and more the strips have been eliminated and reduced to the point of being unreadable.

Newspapers have an advantage over both TV and the Internet in that they can get more in depth in a story-- yet this seldom happens.  I ended my subscription to the Telegram when it became little more than an AP newswire service.  Unleash those reporters!  Discover the scams!  Chase after the dirty politicians!  Sell some papers.

What we need are editors with some backbone.
What we have are fewer and fewer papers.