Wednesday, March 05, 2014

The Demise of UFO Magazine


Today, while searching for information about something else, I saw that there was an Internet listing that suggested there was an “Important Message from UFO Magazine.” Having contributed to it frequently, and because I know those who have been involved with it in the past including Don and Vicki Ecker, I clicked on the link. I mean, the magazine hadn’t been around for a while and I wondered what was going on. What I found was this:

The owner of UFO Magazine, Inc. has officially noticed [sic] that he is putting UFO Magazine, Inc. up for sale. We do not know If [sic] there is currently a buyer, or who the buyer is, or when the sale will be effectuated.
However, in anticipated of that proposed sale, the owner UFO Magazine, Inc. has directed us to terminate all publication of UFO Magazine including, but not limited to, the fulfillment of any subscriptions. Because we are precluded from any future publication specifically containing the trademark of UFO Magazine, Inc., you should direct all inquiries regarding UFO Magazine to:
UFO Magazine, Inc.
5455 Centinela Avenue
Los Angeles, CA. 90066.

This website contained a number of comments about this, though many of them have no relevance to the discussion at hand. Bill Birnes explained some of the back story to the acquisition of the magazine and how he became involved with Philip Corso and UFOs. It was that association with Corso that eventually lead to Birnes’ association with UFO Magazine.

Also in the comments section, Birnes wrote, “Because, as a result of our license revocation, we will be precluded from publishing any new issues of UFO Magazine…” He then outlined the options available to subscribers to satisfy them about the unfulfilled part of their subscriptions.

This is just another example of a publication founded prior to the Internet to find itself in financial difficulty. In the case of UFOs, I wonder if blogs like this one, and websites such as UFO Chronicles (though I’m not suggesting any wrongdoing or blame here), haven’t contributed to the problem. Why buy a magazine when there is so much UFO content on the web for free? I charge nothing for those who wish to read what I have to say here and Frank Warren of UFO Chronicles makes his content free as well. I could name a dozen, two dozen or more blogs and web sites that provide a wide range of UFO information from the ridiculous to the credulous to the hostile to the well-researched and thought out.

The point here is not the diversity of writers, opinions, information or content but that it is free for those interested. Why buy a magazine when you can read it all on the Internet? It isn’t just the UFO magazines that find this, but a wide range of publications. It seems unless it is related to celebrity gossip, tattooing, guns or cars and motorcycles, no one is buying magazines.

So UFO Magazine is gone the way of so much else these days. Say what you will about it, the magazine did supply a wide range of opinion and content. We now have one less source of information.

13 comments:

Lyall M said...

This has been going on for at least a decade. The publisher of a now defunct aviation historical magazine noted that it was their readers dying off in conjunction with the internet that was changing the market magazines. They adapted and have an internet presence and still print some magazines but they are designed to today’s market.

Frank Warren said...

Good Day Kevin,

Although there may be other reasons adherent to the demise of UFO Magazine, alas "the times, they are a-changin'" . . ..

Print publications of all sorts, large, small and in-between are going by the way side, and those that survive are focusing their efforts to the ether.

Although you and I are entrenched in this new fandangled internet, nothing can take the place of holding a newspaper in my hands, or the smell of a freshly printed magazine (IMHO).

C'est la vie,
Frank

billy said...
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purrlgurrl said...

As someone who haunts bookstores because the feel of a "real" publication in one's hands is an almost indescribable joy, the advent of digital-only publication feels like a step backward in human evolution. I don't have space in a blog comment to go into a lengthy discussion of all the reasons why this is such negative development in its impact on society and culture. I can only shake my head at the foibles of human short-sightedness and feel sad.

Zen Benefiel said...

Kevin et al,

I'm sure that UfologyPRSS is also a contributor of the change in how information is shared and spread. Digital publishing is reshaping the way in which we receive information across the gamut of readers, students and telecommunicators. It has been in process for some time and has affected some of the greatest publications we've known in our lifetimes.

I've got some old self-published materials from guys and gals that were in the Ufology field from the 60s and 70s, spiral bound stuff from the 80s as well. Now we've got self-publishing opportunities that create spectacular product compared to the old school versions. Change for the better, in most cases, causes those in the flow to rethink how they are doing business.

I agree that nothing can replace the look, feel and smell of newspapers, magazines and old books. I sill remember the smell of my grandfathers grocery store with the old-soaked wood flooring and open-air meat cutting area. As tough as it may be for some, we are moving forward and I cannot say that garnering information for free is a bad thing.

What is apparent, though, is that business as usual has to change in order to continue to earn a living in this and other chosen fields. How we do that is a constant challenge as the digital world expands and proliferates our lives. Most publications are advertising-driven... so how do we get the advertisers to support the digital delivery now?

Namaste,
Zen Benefiel
Curator, UfologyPRSS.com

KRandle said...

All -

This was mainly a report on the apparent demise of UFO magazine, and sort of a commentary on the demise of the ink on paper press. While there is something to be said for the filters on information that this old way provided, it is also true that some points of view were suppressed because it didn't fit the editorial policies of the publisher or the editor. I once had an article that argued against the alien involvement in cattle mutilations rejected because, according to the editor, he just didn't want to publish anything else about them. But not long after that he accepted an article that suggested that connention.

The real problem, as I see it, is that we are now subjected to everyone's view no matter how ill-informed that point of view might be. That is why some of the arguments rage forever. How many really believe that MJ-12 is anything other than a hoax? Yet look at all that is devoted to it and yes, I know that there would still be books and articles about it...

Anyway, the Internet is a wonderful tool, and those publishers and writers who haven't seen the light are about to be left in the dark.

jeff thompson said...

The Internet is wonderful. But because anyone can post anything online, it requires more skepticism and analysis on the part of readers. Over time, the result will be more careful readers who insist on evidence and verification of claims made on the Internet This is a good thing.

albertguitar.com said...

The Malarkey Quotient of the internet is being spoofed in advertising. I'm thinking of the State Farm commercial with the 'French model'.

I agree with jeff, the internet IS wonderful. But the requirement for being able to _think for yourself_ is more important now, than ever before.

There are opportunities for all subjects in the internet media; the key is capitalizing them. I still like printed media for visual arts, but online is so damned convenient.

I know a lot of folks are wary of paying for the electrons that create those online mags and newspapers, after all, you can't put 'em in your closet. Who's to say how long an online mag will last, and how does one archive them? Newspapers had their own morgues, and remember libraries?

Used to be, when a real journalist with a good reputation wrote something, you could be reasonably sure it was true; it had to pass his BS detector, his researchers, and his editors. The newspapers reputation was on the line with every article printed.

Now, the MSM is merely a tool of the gov't and the corporatocracy. They are all suspect. Individuals have even less built-in credibility.

It takes time to earn the publics trust. I think we're all trying to find a few honest folks. I won't post a list, but I don't post to authors I don't trust. In fact, I trust some authors whom I disagree with; who have sincere beliefs on subjects for which I have sincere disbeliefs.

Such is life.

I gotta go...

Sarge said...

Prior to the internet an author got credibility by being published. You had to hone your craft until you could present a product that someone else thought was good enought to deserve paper and ink.
Today anyone can have a blog and make a post to a site.
With all due respect it just doesn't seem as credible in most cases.

Alien said...

If it only had the quality like the British Ufo magazine from Graham Birdsall, it would be still around.

Alien said...
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Gene Steinberg said...
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Gene Steinberg said...

UFO Magazine apparently tried a digital version before it went belly up. But there still have to be ways to monetize a publishing venture, online or otherwise. Some sites take donations in order to help, run ads, or a combination of both.

That said, I thought the quality of UFO Magazine had seriously declined over the years, and too much woo-woo material was being accepted without critical comment.

Peace,
Gene