The publishing arm of The Navigators will discontinue publication of its two magazines, Discipleship Journal and Pray!, and shift efforts toward enhancing their web presence.
The announcement Monday by NavPress was made on the same day that periodicals database MediaFinder.com revealed the state of the magazine industry in the first quarter of 2009. According to the online database of U.S. and Canadian publications, 95 magazines folded in the first quarter of 2009 while 16 magazines ceased their print editions and now publish online-only magazines. In 2008, 525 magazines ceased their publication, including Christian magazines Ignite Your Faith and CCM Magazine, which had been printing for nearly 30 years.
"It is no secret that we are all in the midst of some very challenging times in our economy and the publishing industry," announced Michael D. Miller, president of NavPress and senior vice president of The Navigators, on Monday.
"Magazine publishing has been hit hard,” he added. “The Internet has been dealing a blow to print media for years. Then the economic downturn – it was like a one-two punch."
Notably, however, 335 new magazines were launched in 2008, and in the first quarter of this year, 110 new magazines have been launched, including the Purpose Driven Connection, the joint venture of megachurch pastor Rick Warren and the Reader’s Digest Association Inc. "We are encouraged to see 110 new magazine launches this year, showing the continued value of magazines,” commented Trish Hagood, president of Oxbridge Communications, which owns MediaFinder. “This figure compares favorably with new magazines launched in 2008.”
Still, for NavPress, the move to cease the printing operations for their magazines and enhance their web presence was decidedly the best one, though a difficult one. "This new structure positions us for a long and fruitful ministry through publishing," said Miller in his announcement. "But it means saying goodbye to some outstanding people. That's always the hardest part."
According to NavPress, Navigators staff members were informed of the new developments on Friday, and the publishing division is now communicating details with its authors.
“I believe we are uniquely positioned and staffed to help our authors connect with their audience," Miller added.
Since its founding in 1975, NavPress has sought to advance The Navigators’ calling by publishing “life-transforming” materials.
NavPress launched Discipleship Journal in 1981 and boasted a readership of more than 100,000 believers at one point in time. Its second magazine, Pray!, was reportedly reaching 44,000.
[By Eric Young, The Christian Post]