Note to media: Vermont Life Magazine to cease publishing

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Vermont life The magazine will last publish next week, Gov. Phil Scott’s administration announced Thursday. The shutdown of the financially troubled state magazine comes after administration officials said earlier this year that the operation was operating “in the dark” and reduced its debt by $ 3.5 million.

Michael Schirling, secretary of the Trade and Community Development Agency, said the magazine’s finances were heading in the right direction until this spring. Schirling said the publication’s problems were similar to those experienced by private newspapers and magazines.

“Advertising revenue and subscription rates,” Schirling said. “We haven’t been able to get advertisers out of what had been a recovery for several quarters. We started seeing a slowdown earlier this year, but we expected it to come back to a more positive number, and we just couldn’t do it. ”

Schirling said the magazine’s six staff positions will be cut.

Senator Jane Kitchel (D-Caledonia) said she was sad the administration chose to shut down the magazine just months after nine outside organizations made offers to buy it.

The offers were a response to last year’s legislation emanating from the Senate Appropriation Committee, which Kitchel chairs. Schirling’s agency had to study the possibility of selling Vermont life to avoid stopping the publication. The state created the magazine over 70 years ago.

Kitchel said she valued Vermont life, and last year’s legislation was designed to put the magazine in the best possible financial position.

“On the surface it appeared that if an entity was able to successfully publish other magazines, it might have greater expertise and a better understanding of the market,” Kitchel said Thursday.

“We were basically saying, ‘Should the state of Vermont be in the publishing business? ” and [the administration’s] the determination was “Yes, it should”, and so where are we? Kitchel said. “Less than a year later, they say the magazine should be shut down. This was not how we hoped things would turn out.

Schirling said the fate of the magazine would be no different if the administration had agreed to sell it.

“The result would be largely the same, although the state would then abandon the brand itself,” Schirling said.

By choosing not to sell it, the state retains ownership of the brand of the dead magazine. Online publication remains a possibility.

Schirling said there are currently no plans to repay Vermont lifeThe debt was $ 3.5 million, but he said the administration planned to work with the legislature to pay it off. Subscribers will be reimbursed for magazines they don’t receive, Schirling said.


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