The Sad Demise of Travel Sections and Magazines

Travel publishing and the demise of travel magazines and newspaper travel sections is a topic near and dear to my heart. I have witnessed it, and last month out in San Francisco, I got to speaking with Spud Hilton, the travel editor of the San Francisco Chronicle.  Hilton was interviewed in a long article on Skift that gave a timeline for how so many sections and entire magazines slowly died.  The story is called How Travel Media Missed the Digital Leap.

Like Spud, it always infuriates and baffles me when publishers decide to shut down entire sections of their websites with nothing but a whimper. Why don’t they repurpose at a minimum, the more recent articles so they can serve another purpose?  I wondered this with Yahoo Travel and I wondered this about Forbes Traveler–what happened to all of those stories they paid for?

Here is Spud, on the same topic.

“Newspapers took the single most misguided step I can imagine; if you picture an entire newspaper’s content, there is no content that is more reusable in the future than the travel section,” said Spud Hilton, longtime editor of the San Francisco Chronicle’s travel section. “Let’s say I’ve had a newspaper that’s had a travel section for 30 years, and then I decide I’m going to throw all that away because it’s too expensive to run a travel section.

If I just take the last five years of those and get somebody to update them or hire an intern, I have 250 weekend escapes that are professionally written and have professional photography. That can become an app, website, book, or any number of things that can be used again. Those newspapers were out and out stupid to bury that archive never to be seen again.”

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