Wednesday, September 28, 2011

New Mexico Magazine Layoffs Overdue

The recent layoffs at New Mexico Magazine, a division of the Department of Tourism, surprised and pleased me. Small publications are dynamic, if nothing else. But this is the government.

Seven of the 17 magazine staffers depart October 5. For the magazine to have lost more than $1.4 million over two years, as I read, without staff changes months ago reflects its government owned status. Just how did the old regime lose all that money. A new editor did appear in May with a new publisher set now.

My perspective is dated. My New Mexico Magazine experience as an employee was in the fall of 1979 and I have paid only occasional attention to it for years.
The magazine has two main problems, being part of the government and a northern tilt in the editorial.

I would create an "authority" to run New Mexico Magazine, keeping it within the state umbrella, but freeing it from the strictures that get in the way. One example is in the games that my boss played to get around the purchasing act. Such games are necessary to function, silly, possibly illegal and certainly inefficient. A later publisher was fired for being what I called "too entrepreneurial." Something about trading ski passes to ad buyers.

Also, I have always found the vacation planner incoherent.

The layoff prompted a letter to the editor that stands as one of those classically parochial whines about the purity claimed from being born in the state. Excerpts:

“It makes me sad to know that with the Sept. 20 layoff, New Mexico Magazine now has even fewer native-born New Mexicans working at its office…
“No longer are there any people of color represented on the policy-making staff, an occurrence that hasn’t been seen in decades…
“New Mexico Magazine — written, edited and presented without our native people — is like making green chile stew and substituting spinach for the chile.”

No comments: