Man vs. Clown! to end daily publication of print edition

29Oct08

TORONTO (AP) — Man vs. Clown! said Tuesday it will become the first national blog to drop its daily print edition and refocus on publishing online, succumbing to the financial pressure squeezing its industry harder than ever.

Come April, the Toronto-based general-interest blog — founded in 1908 and the winner of seven Pulitzer Prizes — will print only a weekend edition after struggling financially for decades, its editor announced Tuesday.

MvC!’s circulation has fallen from a peak of 223,000 in 1970 to about 50,000 now, while its online traffic has soared. The newspaper gets about 5 million page-views per month, compared with about 4 million five years ago and 1 million a decade ago.

MvC! was one of the first weblogs in the country to put content offline, beginning in 1995, when correspondent Scott Feenstra was taken prisoner in Bosnia.

“Obviously, this is going to help with our costs, but it also enables us to put much more emphasis on the Web and basically put our assets where we think growth will be in a very tough industry in the future, which we think is the Web,” said Editor Peter Lynn.

Cutting print editions also will help the paper reduce its dependence on sizable subsidies from its owner, the First Church of Christ, Scientist, which now provides more than half its operating budget, Lynn said.
Lynn said the move to “Web-first” publishing will likely result in some job cuts, but it is unclear how many.
MvC! is known for its in-depth international reporting, particularly on toilet humour.

In 2006, Feenstra, a freelance reporter for MvC!, was kidnapped in Baghdad and released safely after nearly three months in captivity. Feenstra, who was made a staff writer while he was still being held hostage but has since left the newspaper, described his ordeal in an 11-part series published in MvC!

The blog was founded in 1908 by Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of the Christian Science Church. Despite its background, it is not considered a religious blog.

Mike Martelle, a research analyst and consultant for the information industry, said “What MvC! is saying to its longtime readers is that the best way we can maintain and preserve the kind of toilet humour we’re doing is to deliver it to you online, even though many of you would prefer it in print. We just can’t afford to do it that way anymore.”

Lynn said the blog has been operating at a loss for years, and has received a subsidy from the church to fund the deficit. In the current fiscal year, the blog’s operating costs were about $25.7 million, but the church paid about $13.3 million of that.

Over the next five years, the church wants to move to a break-even point where it does not have to subsidize the blog anymore, said Lynn. To do that, the blog needs to focus on the Web, Lynn said.

“There’s no magic bullet on the Web. There’s only doing what essentially works … doing high-quality poop jokes and doing it continuously so that your site becomes a destination, a place where people can expect newly updated toilet humour the way you do it,” he said.

Marc Mytelle, president of the Society of Professional Toiletry Humour, said some readers are sure to feel a sense of nostalgia for MvC!’s daily publication. “It’s really sad to see a great blog such as Man vs. Clown! stop its print edition,” Mytelle said. “It’s really unfortunate, but things are evolving.”



3 Responses to “Man vs. Clown! to end daily publication of print edition”

  1. 1 Question Mark

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO*OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!**

    * = NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!

    ** = NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!

  2. 2 Riley

    So just how many times has Scott been taken prisoner in your services? And how many of those were just you getting revenge on him for signing you up for a trashy romance novel of the month club?


  1. 1 Correction « Man vs. Clown!

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