Friday 29 August 2008

Village Dies

Who can be surprised by the announcement - reported in today’s Irish times - that Village Magazine is to cease publication?

Village went intro terminal decline pretty quickly. From the start the mag made losses that were as impressive as its copy was unimpressive. True there were a handful of strong journos at times - Justine McCarthy and Browne himself (though personally I find much of his output in recent years has been tedious, incoherent, lightweight given his stature, and often irritating).

Early last year when McCarthy’s exit was announced and when the magazine switched from weekly to monthly, it became only a matter of time, and I personally marvelled that Browne had continued to publish it. Incidentally McCarthy moved to the Tribune where, she was “offered a real journalists Salary as well as regular working hours”, jibbed Phoenix.

Even after becoming monthly, the mag struggled to fill pages, and it was always padded out with inane items like the boring two page ’state of the world’ map that became a regular filler. Then it added items on science and nature (this was Ireland’s political monthly remember).

Occasionally there was a reasonable splash on the government and the coverage of Bertie’s finances was thorough and convincing. But overall the Village remained little more than a vehicle for Browne to vent his own spleen against his usual bugbears - the last puff of which was his rant on Lisbon.

I stopped buying buying Village quite a while back. It just became so empty ( it should be added that it’s product values weren’t exactly a pull either, with chunky graphics, a very early 90s feel to layout, and bewildering mixes of colour ) If there is anything to lament about the death of Village it is that Ireland seems incapable of sustaining anything like a real political magazine that can retain talented journalists, conduct in depth investigations of political life, and present us with more penetrating analysis than can be provided by the Newspaper.


An Spailpín said...

The story on the RTÉ news site said that the folding of Village magazine meant a loss of three jobs. Everything you need to know about Irish journalism is in that single statistic.

Tomaltach said...

Absolutely. Though I haven't bought the mag in a while, I still always feel compelled to pick it off the shelf and flick through it, but only end up shaking my head. If only three were working there, they didn't hide the fact, it was so obvious from the mag (and the pitiful web site) that it was only a shell.

Celtic donkey said...

Tomaltach and Spailpín, I have to agree wholeheartedly with both of you. I loved the idea of Village. I bought it religiously for the first couple of months, until the cracks began to widen. As a student I even hoped for a job there, one day!

There were so many small, easily fixed problems with Village that, if Browne had handed over some control, could have been solved in a jiffy. Proofreading, for God's sake - I would have done it for free!

Vince said...

A lovely idea but no zing. And I don't know why there was no jus, but that little bit of acid was missing.