By Harry McCracken | Friday, January 2, 2009 at 1:29 am
JPG Magazine, the publication consisting entirely of photos submitted by its readers, is folding. The closure includes the print publication, its PDF version, and the Web site, and comes at a time when just about everybody involved in the creation of advertising-supported media properties is having a tough time of it. As Daring Fireball’s John Gruber points out, JPG’s founders were forced out in 2007, and the publication lost much of its energy thereafter.
At the peak of its buzz, JPG was sometimes held up as evidence that a magazine could get by without needless luxuries like paid contributors. I don’t think its death proves that the idea of user-generated publications is a crummy one, any more than the current trials and tribulations of media companies prove that the time of professional journalists is over. If JPG had a problem, it may have been that it was ultimately kind of redundant–thanks to Flickr, Facebook, and a zillion other places where you can share photos, the whole darn Web feels a little like an online magazine of user-created imagery.
Rest in peace, JPG–you were an interesting idea, and like many interesting ideas that die, your influence will likely be felt in more successful enterprises to come.