American Prospect Warns Staff It May Have to Close in May


April 30, 2012; Source: The Daily Beast

NPQ does not know what to think of this announcement in the Daily Beast that if the American Prospect does not come up with a half million dollars it will close once it finishes production on the July/August double issue. By now, we assume that our readers know that many publishers are struggling with a business model that at times seems unworkable. Although efforts are still being made to come up with the money, editor Kit Rachlis evidently thinks that the situation is critical enough to inform staff and sound the alarm.

As Ami Dar of Idealist said in his trendcast with us (in discussing a similar alarm that he sounded to the Idealist community), you cannot do this kind of thing multiple times, so NPQ assumes that the publication is indeed in trouble. The American Prospect is an important publication and we wish it the best possible outcome. –Ruth McCambridge

  • Jay Harris

    Thanks for calling people’s attention to the plight of The American Prospect.

    The Prospect is, indeed, facing closure if we don’t raise the money. (I’m the publisher, so I know the numbers all too well.) That said, we’ve raised approximately $70,000 in the 48 hours since the news became public and, while there’s still a distance to go, all of us here at the Prospect are heartened by the huge community response.

    One quick note re our business model: publishing public interest journalism has, of course, never been a money maker in whatever medium, so most of us in that business have developed “hybrid” revenue models ( reflecting a mix of philanthropic and commercial revenues) to stay in business. The Prospect has been blessed with very consistent philanthropic support from both institutions and individuals over the years, but we expanded our efforts in multiple platforms this year because we thought the times were demanding it and because we thought we could raise additional money. Some of the bigger new grants did not come through, though, and, hence, the problem.

    Our budget for this coming fiscal year (starting in July) is leaner, more digital-centric and more reachable — reflecting a sustainable business model, I believe. If the community can help us get from here to there, the Prospect will be part of the idea infrastructure for years to come!

    Many thanks.

    Jay Harris

  • ruth

    Dear Jay:

    We here at NPQ know the territory. Thanks for further elucidating though because it is critical that readers understand how important it iis to support the publishers you value!