The new owners of Outdoor Photographer Magazine have just laid off all its staff. The magazine and website are now up for sale after only acquiring the magazine in February 2023.
After months of mismanagement and not paying contributors, the owners have decided to pull the plug. The June/July issue will be the final issue, according to Editor-in-Chief Dan Havlik’s Facebook post.
“The June/July double issue is my swan song as Editor-in-Chief,” says Havlik in his post, “I’m quite proud of it but not proud of how poorly the company has been managed and all the contributors who have not been paid.”
The details of the poor management and avoidance of paying contributors were well-documented earlier this week by Petapixel. According to that, several contributing photographers and writers have not been paid for their work at the magazine since the fall of 2022, for amounts in their thousands.
The magazine was purchased by the BeBop Channel Corporation earlier this year as part of an acquisition of Madavor Media. However, the takeover also included taking on a large amount of debt incurred by the magazine.
Even more bizarre is the fact that the CEO of BeBop Corporation, Charles Royal, is allegedly blaming the contributors for the problem. He told Petapixel that the contributors should not have kept working for the publication if they were not being paid for their work.
However, many of the writers and photographers had worked for the magazine for years, some for decades and had built up an ongoing level of trust with the editors. The magazine itself was held in high esteem, and to contribute content for it was always deemed as an honour. Clearly, Mr Royal does not understand integrity and loyalty.
Who will buy?
The decision to close Outdoor Photographer is not isolated. The same corporation has also shut down other popular photography sites and publications, such as Imaging Resource. There is now a whole bundle of publications and sites for sale for a bargain of $500,000 if anyone is interested. These include Digital Photo Pro, Imaging Resource, Digital Photo, Image Creators Network, and of course, Outdoor Photographer.
With the have-they-or-haven’t-they shutdown of DP Review earlier this year, it’s understandable that the Photography community feels a little lost at sea. While other online news publications such as Vice and BuzzFeed have also just been fed to the wolves, this could be a case of larger umbrella companies trimming the fat from unprofitable and more niche publications.
As more traditional journalism faces threats from AI, this could be an interesting couple of years ahead for the publishing industry in general. But don’t worry, DIYP is still here for our photography and filmmaking communities!