Monday, Jan. 5, 2009

Vital Source Ceases Printing, Plans Online Expansion

By Evan Rytlewski
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After a loud headline on a short JSonline news feed blurb heralded the death of Vital Source yesterday, the magazine's editor-in-chief Jon Anne Willow retorted with assertions that her publication "is NOT calling it quits" and shared some harsh words for the Journal Sentinel. Despite what the Sentinel headline implied, Vital will keep its staff and office, and plans to relaunch its Web site in February.

Here's the magazine's full press release:
VITAL Publications, LLC to cease printing VITAL Source Magazine; move will strengthen other business lines

[MILWAUKEE, WI]-The majority partners in VITAL Publications, LLC, announced this morning that, effective with the current issue (January 2009), the company will no longer print local culture magazine VITAL Source. The company will continue to provide media distribution and creative services (including design, writing and copy editing) to Milwaukee businesses and non-profit organizations, and to operate its popular website, vitalsourcemag.com, which will relaunch in early February with a new focus and feature set to better meet the needs of its audience. Further information on the new site will be available soon.

Though the magazine had a record year in 2008 and the company as a whole is expected to turn a profit for the first time since it was founded in late 2001, the recent sudden downturn in the economy has dramatically changed the magazine's revenue forecast for 2009.

According to the owners, the reduction in overhead realized by taking VITAL Source out of production will keep the company cash-positive and positioned to continue its growth trajectory.

"This is what makes sense right now," said Editor in Chief and co-Publisher Jon Anne Willow. "It breaks our hearts to think we won't be putting VITAL on the streets every month, but we're doing some very exciting things with our website to position ourselves well in the Milwaukee media mix, and the other divisions of the business are still stable and growing."

VITAL Source will still hold its Fearless Leaders Awards ceremony on January 22 at the Eisner Museum, as well as its Gallery Night event, "Uncovered," a retrospective of VITAL Source cover artists, on January 16, in its space at 133 W. Pittsburgh. More information on both events can be found at vitalsourcemag.com. All Fearless award money will still be donated to the charities of the winners' choices. The owners expect to hold the Awards again in 2010.

"This may seem like a step backwards," said co-Publisher Mehrdad J. Dalamie, "but we believe it's the best way to keep ourselves and the business in a position of relative strength during these difficult economic times. Our primary objective is to still be here, and be strong, when conditions improve."

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