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Thread: The demise of Planning Commissioner's Journal

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    The demise of Planning Commissioner's Journal

    From the LinkedIn site:

    It is with deep regret that we have to report that after 20 years in business as an independently owned and operated publication for citizen planners, the Planning Commissioners Journal will be ending publication this Spring. Unfortunately, the long economic recession and the impact it has had on municipalities -- who make up over 90 percent of our subscription base -- has left us in a position where it is simply not economically feasible to continue publication.

    Our final issue this Spring will include a special retrospective of the most important topics we’ve reported on over the years. In the coming weeks we will also be sharing information about the availability of our extensive archive of articles (over 450 published since 1991) and our other publications, while alerting you to several exciting special offers. At the end of March, we’ll also be releasing an updated and expanded version of our popular booklet: Welcome to the Commission! A Guide for New Members. Special pre-order discount pricing on the updated edition of this publication is now available. Information is available on our web site:
    http://pcj.typepad.com

    Make sure you’re on our email list, as future announcements will primarily be by email. If you’re currently a Planning Commissioners Journal subscriber, you’ll find a letter enclosed with the Winter issue (now being mailed out) asking you to verify your current email address. If you’re not a subscriber, you can easily sign up for our email update list.

    We will -- at least for the next several months -- be maintaining our Linkedin group page, and continue to post announcements.

    We appreciate the support we've received from our friends and subscribers over the years. Thank you!

    Wayne Senville, Publisher & Editor
    Betsey Krumholz, General Manager

    p.s., if you have any questions, don't hesitate to either email us at: pcjoffice@gmail.com or phone us at: 802-864-9083.


    PCJ has long been the best source for meaningful planning topics. It will be sorely missed.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  2. #2
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    That's a real shame to lose this publication. I always felt it had good content, and my Commissioners certainly appreciated the articles.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  3. #3
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    sad, sad, sad. After the Greensburg devestation and with a grant from our Kansas chapter, the commissioners got a two year subscription. We just couldn't keep it up. Thank you Wayne and Betsey for helping us. I wish we could have done more.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    If you want to kill something, take its funding away. Surely a billionaire soaking his cigar in tax cuts can pony up a pittance to keep citizens informed, right? Right?

    Hello?

    Anyone?


























    Hello?
    -------
    Give a man a gun, and he can rob a bank. Give a man a bank, and he can rob the world.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian TOFB's avatar
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    This is too bad. I always felt good about renewing our subscription; it had real value.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Random Traffic Guy's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ColoGI View post
    If you want to kill something, take its funding away. Surely a billionaire soaking his cigar in tax cuts can pony up a pittance to keep citizens informed, right?
    Seriously, is this type of trolling proper for the forum? Move it to FAC...

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Masswich's avatar
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    Very sad. I think it filled a real nice niche in the publications world and will be missed.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Random Traffic Guy View post
    Seriously, is this type of trolling proper for the forum? Move it to FAC...
    No one can find a rich guy to fund the Journal to bridge the gap until cities get back on track? Surely my phrasing was cynically tied to the news of the day, but come now you can't see the message?
    -------
    Give a man a gun, and he can rob a bank. Give a man a bank, and he can rob the world.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Plus Whose Yur Planner's avatar
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    I am sorry to see them go. They were a nice alternative to APA in certain areas and put out quality publications.
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

  10. #10
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    If a small planning department could have just one periodical, PCJ would probably be it. It's articles were clear and concise, yet complete and informative. The writing was stellar. The cover art (which can be purchased at http://www.cafepress.com/pcjournal) was iconic much in the same way of Byte magazine in the 1970s. PCJ was useful not just for planning commissioners, but also for planners who needed a convenient and persuasive reference.

    I really hope Wayne finds a way to compile the content of previous PCJs into some kind of "best of" book; it could serve as the equivalent of the Green Book for planning commissioners, and be a great additon to any planner's bookshelf.

    Wayne suppoted Cyburbia through the years, and I'm really grateful for that. I had the chance to meet him a couple of times, and he's a good guy. PCJ will be missed.

    Quote Originally posted by ColoGI View post
    No one can find a rich guy to fund the Journal to bridge the gap until cities get back on track? Surely my phrasing was cynically tied to the news of the day, but come now you can't see the message?
    We never found a rich benefactor for Cyburbia.

    Maybe some foundation can help PCJ, but it's a for-profit business.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  11. #11
    Cyburbian hilldweller's avatar
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    This is a shame. PCJ provided a real practical and balanced perspective on planning issues, rarely pushing an agenda beyond helping citizen planners carry out their responsibilities to their communities.

  12. #12
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Dan View post
    If a small planning department could have just one periodical, PCJ would probably be it. It's articles were clear and concise, yet complete and informative. The writing was stellar. The cover art (which can be purchased at http://www.cafepress.com/pcjournal) was iconic much in the same way of Byte magazine in the 1970s. PCJ was useful not just for planning commissioners, but also for planners who needed a convenient and persuasive reference.

    I really hope Wayne finds a way to compile the content of previous PCJs into some kind of "best of" book; it could serve as the equivalent of the Green Book for planning commissioners, and be a great additon to any planner's bookshelf.

    Wayne suppoted Cyburbia through the years, and I'm really grateful for that. I had the chance to meet him a couple of times, and he's a good guy. PCJ will be missed.



    We never found a rich benefactor for Cyburbia.

    Maybe some foundation can help PCJ, but it's a for-profit business.
    Dan is preaching truth. I read the PCJ cover-to-cover far more often than Planning Magazine.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Random Traffic Guy's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ColoGI View post
    No one can find a rich guy to fund the Journal to bridge the gap until cities get back on track? Surely my phrasing was cynically tied to the news of the day, but come now you can't see the message?
    Alright, sounded to me like you were linking the rich guy to the journal's market troubles.

    It's hard to make a pitch to rich guys when the actual users aren't putting up enough to keep it going. Charity is not sustainable if it doesn't lead to a structural change to remove the need for charity. If they were subsidized and offered the Journal for free/cheap, going back to current rates and really the higher rates they need to thrive is difficult at best, even if their customers again have the surplus that allowed the non-essential purchase.

    I did find the Journal interesting, an old coworker got one for being on the plan commission of their town. But I think I get more from reading blogs with the same time I'd use to pay for the magazine. Media markets are a bear these days.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Dan View post
    If a small planning department could have just one periodical, PCJ would probably be it. It's articles were clear and concise, yet complete and informative. The writing was stellar. ...

    We never found a rich benefactor for Cyburbia. ..Maybe some foundation can help PCJ, but it's a for-profit business.
    Quote Originally posted by Random Traffic Guy View post
    ...

    It's hard to make a pitch to rich guys when the actual users aren't putting up enough to keep it going. Charity is not sustainable if it doesn't lead to a structural change to remove the need for charity. If they were subsidized and offered the Journal for free/cheap, going back to current rates and really the higher rates they need to thrive is difficult at best, even if their customers again have the surplus that allowed the non-essential purchase.

    I did find the Journal interesting, an old coworker got one for being on the plan commission of their town. But I think I get more from reading blogs with the same time I'd use to pay for the magazine. Media markets are a bear these days.
    The managing partner found I was too obtuse above. Apologies. The larger issue is that this is an important resource for the planning process (and a compendium of good information for non-young PCs who don't read blogs and the interwebs. That is: this is a perfect spot for, say, the APA to jump in and facilitate connections for a bridge until things pick up in a few years and subs can keep the lights on again...APA, ASLA, I don't care who but this is a perfect opportunity. Why is the planning community accepting this loss, esp for rural areas?
    -------
    Give a man a gun, and he can rob a bank. Give a man a bank, and he can rob the world.

  15. #15
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ColoGI View post
    That is: this is a perfect spot for, say, the APA to jump in and facilitate connections for a bridge until things pick up in a few years and subs can keep the lights on again...APA, ASLA, I don't care who but this is a perfect opportunity.
    The APA has The Commissioner, which is distributed free to planning commissioners and elected officials who are APA members. The Commissioner was started not too long ago, IIRC, and I wouldn't doubt it hurt PCJ, especially considering that many communities pay for APA membership for their PCs.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  16. #16
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Dan View post
    The APA has The Commissioner, which is distributed free to planning commissioners and elected officials who are APA members. The Commissioner was started not too long ago, IIRC, and I wouldn't doubt it hurt PCJ, especially considering that many communities pay for APA membership for their PCs.
    Right. Maybe the fatalist planner is too idealistic here on this topic, but I wasn't aware good planning was built on a competitive model. I thought we wanted as much sharing and knowledge out there as possible to ensure good places got built.
    -------
    Give a man a gun, and he can rob a bank. Give a man a bank, and he can rob the world.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian Masswich's avatar
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    I wonder if there is an on-line future for PCJ, maybe in partnership with Cyburbia?

  18. #18
    Cyburbian
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    I'm very sad to hear about this. PCJ published a sidebar article that I wrote a few years ago. Our Commissioners loved PCJ; unfortunately, the city stopped our subscription due to budgetary concerns.

  19. #19
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Masswich View post
    I wonder if there is an on-line future for PCJ, maybe in partnership with Cyburbia?
    You know, I half-wonder if we could make that work, except publish electronically rather than hard copy?

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  20. #20
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Suburb Repairman View post
    You know, I half-wonder if we could make that work, except publish electronically rather than hard copy?
    Of course. That is the late-20thC model of publishing. Again, this is a perfect spot for, say, the APA to jump in and facilitate connections...
    -------
    Give a man a gun, and he can rob a bank. Give a man a bank, and he can rob the world.

  21. #21
    Cyburbian TOFB's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ColoGI View post
    Of course. That is the late-20thC model of publishing. Again, this is a perfect spot for, say, the APA to jump in and facilitate connections...
    Dont hold your breath

  22. #22
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by TOFB View post
    Dont hold your breath
    My point (buried in obtuseness upthread).

    Fixed for clarity:

    Quote Originally posted by ColoGI View post

    Again, this is a perfect spot for, say, a competent advocacy association that cares enough about its members to jump in and facilitate connections...
    -------
    Give a man a gun, and he can rob a bank. Give a man a bank, and he can rob the world.

  23. #23
    Cyburbian Random Traffic Guy's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ColoGI View post
    Again, this is a perfect spot for, say, a competent advocacy association that cares enough about its members to jump in and facilitate connections...
    So the members pay APA, and then APA pays the magazine which benefits (a portion of) the members... If the magazine is so good I think there's a middleman needing cutting there. I can't wait for Thursday when it is "bash the APA for not being responsible with our membership dollars" day.

    PCJ is a business failure in its current form. Not a judgment, just the facts. There would seem to be opportunities to repurpose the valuable parts (archives, mailing lists, articles on the shelf, equipment) to more productive and sustainable uses.

  24. #24
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Random Traffic Guy View post
    PCJ is a business failure in its current form. Not a judgment, just the facts. There would seem to be opportunities to repurpose the valuable parts (archives, mailing lists, articles on the shelf, equipment) to more productive and sustainable uses.
    Implicit in the argumentation above is that the folk running the PCJ could have reached out to several different sectors for some seed money, not just the APA :

    this is a perfect spot for, say, the APA to jump in and facilitate connections for a bridge until things pick up in a few years and subs can keep the lights on again...APA, ASLA, I don't care who but this is a perfect opportunity. Why is the planning community accepting this loss, esp for rural areas?


    "say', meaning, "for example".

    However, it is in the APA's interest - and as I stated, the planning community - to have PCs educated and up-to-date. Surely the APA could have been a bridge had someone reached out, but can you really seriously see the APA being an effective bridge? Me neither.

    Maybe there is a grass-roots effort out there to resurrect it. Maybe not. Again, maybe I'm naive but I wasn't aware good places were a zero-sum game.
    -------
    Give a man a gun, and he can rob a bank. Give a man a bank, and he can rob the world.

  25. #25
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    There is a trend for professionalorganizations to pimp themselves out in search of additional money. In the last few years this has particularly become a problem with IEDC. They have gotten in bed with a select few conslutants that give them money in order to "sponsor" or partner on everything from conferences to webinars to newsletters to "special events" that are little more than an opportunity for these people to schill their snake oil. I am not saying that would happen if APA were to form an alliance with PCJ, mainly because I think the publisher of PCJ is too decent/honorable a person to allow that to happen. I do think it could open the door to that kind of abuse, though, and I also suspect that the quality of PCJ would suffer from too close an involvement with APA.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

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