Student Publication Subscriptions Fall, In The Mix Forced to End Production

In The Mix, Andover’s multicultural magazine, will be ending production at the end of this academic year due to a sharp decline in the number of subscriptions. Zahra Bhaiwala ’10, Editor in Chief of In the Mix, said, “In the year of 2008-2009, the year when I was instated as Editor In Chief, the board was not making a conscious effort to work on the magazine. There was absolutely no collaboration, so Ms. Curci and I had to scramble at the last minute to put out just one issue of In The Mix.” In 2009, the double issue was printed roughly unfinished because Bhaiwala did not have support or assistance from the rest of the board. It was the only issue of In The Mix printed for the duration of the entire year. Bhaiwala said, “We took a really big hit subscriptions wise because everyone who had subscribed before didn’t subscribe again this year.” While In the Mix had forty-three subscriptions last year, the magazine only has ten to eleven subscribers this year. “I had hoped that with the enthusiastic new board, we would find more success with the magazine. It turns out that the low number of subscriptions overrode any amount of work that the new board put in,” said Bhaiwala. This year, In The Mix applied for an Abbot Association Grant and received five hundred dollars. The grant covered the deficit from the lack of subscriptions. However, Bhaiwala still plans on closing due to low readership. “It’s not worth putting out our magazine if only ten people are going to read it. At this point there’s no hope. In The Mix is still contemplating the release of its last issue. We don’t want the money for production to go to waste, but at the same time the amount of effort the writers put into their work should not get overlooked,” said Bhaiwala. In the Mix is only one of several on-campus publications struggling to continue publishing. Backtracks, The Record and The Courant have also seen a decline in student interest, which has also led to plummeting numbers of subscriptions. “A lot of other campus magazines have had decreases in subscriptions due to the economy and advertising issues,” said Bhaiwala. The main issues that these publications are experiencing are a lack of interest and poor campus advertising. Carolyn Harmeling ’11 said, “I don’t subscribe to these magazines because I don’t know what they are. I’ve never seen a copy of any of these publications, and I don’t want to have to make an annual commitment to something I don’t know about.” Evan Eads ’12 said, “I used to subscribe to on-campus publications but I stopped this year because the magazines themselves weren’t very interesting and I didn’t have time to read them. It is also too much of a hassle to subscribe because you can only subscribe in the very beginning of the year.” Audrey Adu-Appiah ’10, Editor In Chief of The Record, said, “Actual hard copies of these publications are hard to come by. This poses a major problem for The Record, and it is an issue that the new board will be working on. We are planning to start publicizing at events like coffeehouses, which we think will be a great way to expand readership.” The Record is a relatively new publication, and the board hopes to see an increase in subscriptions in coming years. The Record has not encountered as drastic a decrease in subscriptions since it is a relatively new publication, but the magazine has suffered from the setbacks of a young, developing publication. Appiah said, “Not very many people know about the Record because it’s a new magazine. We have found that it is very difficult to create our own niche in the publications realm of Andover. Well-established publications such as The Phillipian have a better following because of its legacy and public interest.” Appiah attributes The Record’s relative success to the managing of the printing budget. “Many publications work with a printer that requires a minimum amount of prints. Luckily, The Record uses a printer that allows as many or as little prints as it needs. Working with this type of printer makes it easier to produce fewer copies and notably reduces costs,” said Appiah. Backtracks is another on-campus publication that is experiencing a significant decline in subscriptions. However, because of its solid readership, Backtracks has enough subscribers to continue publishing. Rei Konolige ’10, Editor In Chief of Backtracks, said, “Even though the cost of production is a lot more than the amount we make from subscriptions, Backtracks is able to survive off of English department grants. Next year, with the help of a fresh board and a new faculty advisor, we hope to get things up and running again.” All on-campus publications are in the middle of their board turnover. The new boards plan on reforming advertising strategies in order to increase subscription numbers.