My first job covering the industry was for Rapaport about 17 years ago. I remember looking with one of my editors through the JA show “dailies.” Modern Jeweler – which I guess produced a show daily back then – had run a story about the Jewelers Vigilance Committee nearly going bankrupt. And my editor said, “Oh that’s Modern. They always have good stuff.”
And that’s how it was. National Jeweler was the feisty news tabloid. JCK was the very serious “industry authority.” And Modern Jeweler… well, I wasn’t always sure what Modern was. Except it generally had “good stuff.”
Back then Modern was a serious, but also kind of quirky book. It was easily the most literary jewelry magazine, and had a real adventurous streak. At one point, its editor even interviewed Nelson Mandela. Not many trade publications can say that.
Modern’s current incarnation is more focussed, concentrating on branding and product. And yet, even when its subject matter wouldn’t seem to lend itself to good writing, the prose was generally several levels above what you find in your typical trade publication. And it was always informative, thorough and beautifully designed. It was clearly put together by people who cared – both about the industry, and about making their magazine the best that it could be.
As I’m sure you all know, Modern suspended publication on Monday, another victim of this miserable recession. But this isn’t meant to be an obituary. There is talk of the magazine being sold, or revived when things get better. Certainly its owner Cygus seems to recognize its value. A 108-year-old publication that people have followed for decades shouldn’t disappear overnight. And while my magazine competes with Modern, both for stories and ad dollars, I sincerely hope it does come back. Certainly our industry, in its present state, needs all the forums for self-examination it can get.
Finally, I recommend the blog post the two principals wrote announcing the suspension, which was done, like everything the magazine did, with grace and class. I am sure everyone involved will do fine, but for now we wish them all the best.