Friday, May 3, 2013

More Changes at "American Heritage" Magazine

In 2007 the esteemed popular history magazine American Heritage could not find a buyer and thus suspended operations after fifty-three years of publication.  It was revived a year later when Edwin S. Grosvenor, a popular historian with experience in the magazine industry, bought the company.

Today American Heritage has 120,000 subscribers, but as David Austin Walsh informs us at History Network, it has once again suspended operations.  Grosvenor claims that the suspension of the print edition is temporary so that the company can "refocus its mission on education and digital history."

Here is a taste of Walsh's piece:

“We're building probably the biggest system on the Internet for teaching American history,” Grosvenor told HNN. The project will feature “6,000 essays by 1,800 historians – the pieces that have been in American Heritage over the last half century, and thousands and thousands of primary documents.” Once digitized, these articles will be bundled with documents, multimedia, and suggestions for how to integrate the material into the Common Core Standards. The Helmsley Charitable Trust is one of the major funders of the Common Core. The expected launch date is in August. “Our eventual goal is five million students a year,” Grosvenor said. 

“Our content is tailor-made for education,” he added. “Our marketing is focused on school districts and teachers. If we can solve their problems and provide excellent tools at little or no cost, we're convinced we'll get pretty quickly implemented.” 

“We've been trying to figure out for five years how to take a print magazine and make it relevant for a digital age.” The digitization project is one of the solutions, but eventually the goal, according to Grosvenor, is to raise the funds to relaunch the print magazine. “We want to be able to offer subscribers a package: the print magazine, a digital magazine for the iPad, and access to our archives,” which will eventually go behind a paywall. “We're 100 percent committed to our print magazine,” he insisted. Still, it's a difficult problem as retrenchment continues across the print media landscape. “Newsweek is gone,” he said, “and Time is up for sale.” He paused. “Time Magazine.”

It seems that the so-called "Common Core Standards" are driving everything these days.  Even the Gilder-Lerhman Institute of American History is retooling to serve its needs.