JPG Magazine is the way not to do things

I am not a huge contributor to JPG Magazine but have been a big fan of what they’ve been doing with overall concept of what JPG has been. In fact, I signed up for an account to vote on submission of friends so they will get published in their magazine. Kris Krug[flickr], John Goldsmith[flickr], and Mr. Jacob Stewart[flickr], better known as “Cosmo” from the Clubside Breakfast Time podcast, were the handful of people who got me to sign up, vote for their submissions to make it into the next edition of the magazine, and also check out some of the other stuff there.

I might not be the greatest photographer in the world, but time could be well wasted digging through submissions. At least I am able to recognize worthwhile work and understand the art that is presented.

Then today, Goldsmith posted this image to his flickr, which led me to this post, written by the man who co-founded JPG Mag. To the heart of the matter:

Unfortunately, issue 10 will be the last one that Heather and I will have a hand in. We are no longer working for JPG Magazine or 8020 Publishing.

Why? The reasons are complicated, and the purpose of this post is not to air dirty laundry – it’s just to let the community know why the founders of JPG are no longer there. We owe you that much.

In one evening, Paul removed issues 1-6 from the JPG website, removed Heather from the About page, and deleted the “Letter from the Editors” that had lived on the site since day one. Paul informed me that we were inventing a new story about how JPG came to be that was all about 8020. He told me not to speak of that walk in Buena Vista, my wife, or anything that came before 8020.

Here’s where the whole “not lying” thing comes in. I just could not agree to this new story. It didn’t, and still doesn’t, make any business sense to me. Good publishing companies embrace their founding editors and community, not erase them. Besides, we’d published six issues with participation from thousands of people. There’s no good reason to be anything but proud of that. [powazek]

After reading this, and you should read the entire post for the complete story, I’ve deleted my account as well. Granted that I have done very little with JPG Magazine, there’s very little making me want to increase my interaction, not to mention that all those people I listed above have done the same thing. Call it a revolt, protest, or what have you, but the reputation that once existed is quickly falling apart.

Deleted my JPG Mag account

If you want to kill off a community, then this is a good example of how to do that.


One Reply to “JPG Magazine is the way not to do things”

  1. John, your conclusion is spot on. It was sad for me to see the outrage and backlash. Nevertheless, the publisher had betrayed the trust of the community who had invested a great deal of time and effort into the project, even if there were some decent kickbacks.

    The outrage felt a bit like a middle school break up, and many felt cheated on, including me. The tight community that took a year or more to build was no longer visible. We will never know the true story and the inner working of JPG Mag, but I don’t think it really matters. The entire JPG Mag project was built on a healthy online community. When the users and content providers were dismissed, whether real or imaginary, their support went with it.

    The situation became poignant to me when several well respected photographers who were already published in the magazine bid farewell. In addition, Derek and Heather, the online faces and creators, were facing a financial loss for taking their stand. That speaks volumes. In the months before this eruption, I had already begun to feel a shift in strategy by the publisher because of the commercial partnerships that JPG Mag made. I imagine greed got in the way of a good thing, but only time will tell . . . . I have no regrets and with Derek and Heather all the best. I’m sure they will land on their feet.

    Thanks a lot for the link!

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