News: Former Vibe Editor-In-Chief Talks Mag's Fold, "I Don't Know Where These Stories Will Be Told"

Wednesday, Jul 22, 2009 6:10PM

Written by Cyrus Langhorne

Former Vibe Magazine Editor-In-Chief Danyel Smith recently spoke on the downfall of one of hip-hop's most celebrated publications and how the magazine will likely re-emerge in the future.

Speaking with radio personality Angela Yee, Smith explained the publication's final days and the uncertainty of what will happen with the brand next.

"The magazine business overall has been in such a state, frankly since I came back three years ago. I always had it at the front of my mind. Frankly, we talked about it and was it a complete surprise to me that day? Um, no, I don't think it was for any of my fantastic staff. We had gone down to four days a week...We were all making sacrifices because we wanted the brand to live. We were all strategizing and working really hard and I'm just really really broken hearted. There will be a bounce back, there's no question about that but I'm really broken hearted. It's sad, I don't know where those stories are gonna be told the way they were told in Vibe...To be honest with you, a lot of people are probably going to try to buy the brand either as a whole or in pieces. And who knows what's gonna happen and who knows if I or anybody who was there will would be there...Who knows what can happen." (Shade 45)

Vibe founder Quincy Jones recently announced his plans to purchase the magazine.

"I'm trying to buy my magazine back now," he said in an interview. "They just messed my magazine all up, but I'm gonna get it back. You better believe it, I'ma take it online because print and all that stuff is over. We gotta get into the 21st century you know. Print and all that stuff is over, we gotta remember that. The Chicago Tribune, The Seattle Post Intelligencer. The Miami Herald. They're over the same way as the record business. We have got to get into this century." (Ebony Jet)

Despite earlier claims, the magazine released its "last" issue earlier this month.

The new and final cover will feature The-Dream and Christina Millan. Looks like you will get to experience Milian's hot nakedness after all. Just got word, the final issue will be distributed. Gabriel Tesoriero wins again. No subscriber copies will be sent. Better go in them pockets! (Rap Radar)

Vibe's former CEO Steve Aaron previously released a statement which addressed why the magazine came to an unexpected end after 16 years.

"The collapse of the capital markets has impacted us greatly," he wrote. "Over the past several months, we have actively pursued investment resources while working intensively with our bank to find a solution. But the deal market right now remains very poor and at the end of the day, the lack of investment resources to restructure the huge debt on our small company has made this outcome become a reality. The print advertising collapse hit VIBE hard, especially as key ad categories like automotive and fashion, which represented the bulk of our top 10 advertisers, have stopped advertising or gone out of business...The relentless economic situation has depressed our growth initiatives on the digital front. To be clear, VMG has made significant improvement in this part of our business, but not at the accelerated pace required to offset the devastating effects of the most severe recession in our lifetime and the accompanying print losses." (Statement)

[Check out SOHH's examination of "Hip-Hop Journalism in Crisis"]

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