(MORE) magazine, a publication devoted to criticism of the news media, has suspended publication after its publisher donated the financially-troubled magazine to Columbia University for a tax write-off.
In a touch of irony that has left many staff members of the seven-year-old publication bitter, the 10,600 subscribers of (MORE) will be served in the future by the Columbia Journalism Review the Columbia University publication that (MORE) was originally created as an alternative to.
James Adler, publisher of (MORE) since last August, and owner of Bethesda-based Congressional Information Services, said in an interview yesterday that he had lost an estimated $400,000 since he took over, and that he would be able to take a tax deduction because he was making the monthly magazine a gift to a tax-exempt institution.
It was general knowledge in recent months that the magazine was for sale, especially last April, when Adler was hospitalized for a month and could devote little time to his troubled property.
But, sources at the New York-based magazine say, there were only two real offers for the publication. The first, from Nation magazine, would have resulted in (MORE) becoming a section of that publication. Adler reportedly turned it down because not enough money was offered.
[TEXT OMITTED FROM SOURCE] turned down anotheroffer from "a commercial printer," because the buyer wanted "to turn the magazine into a sort of gossip magazine, and I didn't think the world needed that."
Adler said he had the magazine appraised in order to set the value of his deduction, but he would not disclose its value. Columbia officials said they would not be advised of what value was set on (MORE) because it was a matter "between Mr. Adler and the Internal Revenue Service."
The name (MORE) came from journalistic jargon. "(MORE)" is put at the end of each page a reporter types to indicate to his editors and printers that there is more of the story coming on another page.
When (MORE) was created in 1971, its founders said it would be an alternative to the Columbia Journalism Review, a bimonthly that began in 1961. The CJR was "too stodgy and out of touch with younger members of the profession, said J. Anthony Lukas, one of three founders of (MORE), who served the magazine as a senior editor until its suspension yesterday.
For Alder to not only destroy the magazine, but then hand it to the magazine to which it was supposed to be an alternative, is the ultimate irony and the ultimate obscenity," Lukas said in a telephone interview from Cambridge, Mass.
The simple fact of the matter is that in the ten months that Adler has owned the magazine, he didn ot send out one single piece of direct mail soliciting new subscriptions, nor did he make any efforts to either sustain or gain new advertising," he said.
We made our mistakes," Lukas said of the small editorisal staff of (MORE), but our biggest single mistake was to ask Jim Adler to take over."
Adler points to the $300,000 he invested in [MORE] after buying it for an estimated $100,000 as an example of his committment.
"I did not buy this magazine with the intention of folding it," he said. "What I didn't know was just how tough a job it is to be successful in publishing a journalism review."
Adler said he had no problems giving the magazine to CJR, its arch rival, because "there was never any disagreement (between the two) as to the desirability of providing journalistic criticism. My own feeling is that CJR has accepted a considerable challenge - taking on quite a few thousand new subscribers used to and interested in the kind of information [MORE] has given them."
CJR publisher Ed Barrett said CJR would not be using any [MORE] columns or features, although he is talking to at last one [MORE] staff member about the possibility of working at CJR, a division of Columbia's journalism school.
"We're sorry to see it go," Barrett said.
Elie Abel, dean of Columbia's journalism school said, "The Review (CJR obviously will benefit from this development. Nonetheless, we are sorry to see [MORE] disappear as an independent entity. It has been lively and enterprising."
At the end, its circulation had dropped from a high of about 23,000 to about 15,000, including street sales. CJR sells about 32,000 copies six times a year.