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Critical junctures


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"A dramatic decline in advertising revenue"

Wespennest, Austria

A dramatic decline of advertising revenue has forced Austrian journal Wespennest to scale down from four issues to two issues a year. While commitment to the print format remains undiminished, the question of how to build up readerships across generations remains open, write the editors.

For many years Wespennest operated on a low but stable budget, provided equally by sales, advertising and public funding. Since the onset of the financial and economic crises, Wespennest – like other print media in Austria – has been affected by a dramatic decline of advertising revenue. In order to survive we have had to reduce our frequency from four issues to two issues a year. This has resulted in a shift in how the magazine is financed: since 2010, two thirds of the budget come from public funding bodies and one third from sales and advertising. Also to bear in mind is that the public sector acts not only as funder but also as an ad client, and here too we have seen a loss in revenue.

Financing European cultural journals


Like other types of cultural organization reliant on public funds, cultural journals throughout Europe have felt the impact of recession. In addition to funding cuts, journals are also having to negotiate the upheavals taking place in the print sector. Through a European survey of financing for cultural journals, Eurozine takes stock of the situation of the network, in order to communicate its experiences internally and to others who hold a stake in European cultural policy today. [more]

Inspired by the Eurozine initiative, our long-standing partner "Varlik" conducted a survey of Turkish journals. Like their European counterparts, Turkish journals need public support. However, they are far more wary of risking their independence by receiving government funding. [more]
Wespennest's public funders are the departments for literature at a national level (Federal Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture) and a regional level (Vienna City Council for Cultural Affairs and Science). Our activities are funded on a one-year-basis; applications and final accounts need to be made every year. We have sporadically managed to raise additional translation money (mostly from public authorities in Austria and in some cases other European countries). We have also increased our efforts to attract private donors, however this source accounts for no more than five to seven per cent of our annual budget.

In terms of "hidden" public funding, we are exempt from VAT, which means savings in billing costs, but at the same time it is a disadvantage in purchasing goods and services. Postal rebates exist for subscriptions and bulk mailing but not for one-off orders of the magazine. The big threat at the moment is increased postage charges – in contrast to Germany and others, the Austrian post no longer offers significant discounts for "printed matter". All this means that the editorial work is only partly paid. Which is not to say that writers and translators come of well either.

Public funders in our particular sector do indeed act on their commitment to enable a diverse literary scene. However, public funding for magazines within a broader cultural and political spectrum, and the press in general, is not necessarily distributed in a way that results in an equally diverse media landscape. In Austria there is something called "Press and journalism funding", which has nothing to do with cultural policy in the strict sense. One of the main ideas behind it is the "maintenance of regional diversity". There has been criticism that, instead of enabling a diverse media landscape, press funding promotes so called "court reporting". A new "media transparency law", introduced in 2012, requires all bodies governed by public law to declare their advertising orders placed with periodical media. Whether this will create more clarity as to the relations between the state and state-owned companies and the media remains to be seen.

Wespennest has a website (www.wespennest.at) and an electronic newsletter. Two to three articles per issue are made accessible on the website free of charge (in .pdf format). Integrated into our website is also a "shop", which serves as an important ordering facility for readers, especially outside the big cities. Having said that, there is still a tight network of quality bookstores in the German speaking countries, unlike in other language markets. We are also exploring options for distribution via an iOS app for cultural journals, currently being developed by Nätverkstan in Gothenburg.

In our opinion, the print journal remains the relevant format for cultural publishing. Magazines with a strong focus on art and literature, combined with passion for design, typography and material, have always existed in a niche market. We don't believe that they will disappear or become redundant. The question seems more to be whether it will continue to be possible to build solid and committed readerships and communities both within and across generational boundaries. With this in mind we now present every new issue to our local Viennese audience with special events, debates, readings, etc. How can a network like Eurozine help to consolidate the position of cultural journals in Europe? Eurozine's major advantage for its partners is, in our opinion, twofold. Firstly, it guarantees and increases the visibility of cultural journals throughout Europe, making transnational themes and the hybrid genre "cultural magazine" as such visible. Secondly, and equally importantly, it contributes to the acknowledgement of the significance of complex textual content. Eurozine's potential in attracting public attention is a major asset, not only in times of crisis.

 



Published 2012-09-12


Original in English
First published in Eurozine

Contributed by Wespennest
© Walter Famler/Andrea Zederbauer
© Eurozine
 

Focal points     click for more

Debating solidarity in Europe

http://www.eurozine.com/comp/focalpoints/solidarity.html
In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, questions of inequality and solidarity have become intertwined. Over the past year, however, questions of solidarity have also been central in connection to the treatment of refugees and migrants. [more]

Ukraine: Beyond conflict stories

http://www.eurozine.com/comp/focalpoints/ukraine_beyond_conflict4.html
Follow the critical, informed and nuanced voices that counter the dominant discourse of crisis concerning Ukraine. A media exchange project linking Ukrainian independent media with "alternative" media in Germany, France, Spain, Italy and Greece. [more]

Ukraine in European dialogue

http://www.eurozine.com/comp/focalpoints/ukrainedialogue.html
Post-revolutionary Ukrainian society displays a unique mix of hope, enthusiasm, social creativity, collective trauma of war, radicalism and disillusionment. Two years after the country's uprising, the focal point "Ukraine in European dialogue" takes stock. [more]

Culture and the commons

http://www.eurozine.com/comp/focalpoints/culturecommons.html
Across Europe, citizens are engaging in new forms of cultural cooperation while developing alternative and participatory democratic practices. The commons is where cultural and social activists meet a broader public to create new ways of living together. [more]

2016 Jean Améry Prize collection

http://www.eurozine.com/comp/focalpoints/jeanameryprize2016.html
To coincide with the awarding of the 2016 Jean Améry Prize for European essay writing, Eurozine publishes essays by authors nominated for the prize, including by a representative selection of Eurozine partner journals. [more]

The politics of privacy

http://www.eurozine.com/comp/focalpoints/privacy.html
The Snowden leaks and the ensuing NSA scandal made the whole world debate privacy and data protection. Now the discussion has entered a new phase - and it's all about policy. A focal point on the politics of privacy: claiming a European value. [more]

Beyond Fortress Europe

http://www.eurozine.com/comp/focalpoints/lawborder.html
The fate of migrants attempting to enter Fortress Europe has triggered a new European debate on laws, borders and human rights. A focal point featuring reportage alongside articles on policy and memory. With contributions by Fabrizio Gatti, Seyla Benhabib and Alessandro Leogrande. [more]

Russia in global dialogue

http://www.eurozine.com/comp/focalpoints/eurocrisis.html
In the two decades after the end of the Cold War, intellectual interaction between Russia and Europe has intensified. It has not, however, prompted a common conversation. The focal point "Russia in global dialogue" seeks to fuel debate on democracy, society and the legacy of empire. [more]

Eurozine BLOG

On the Eurozine BLOG, editors and Eurozine contributors comment on current affairs and events. What's behind the headlines in the world of European intellectual journals?
Eurozine
In memoriam: Ales Debeljak (1961-2016)

http://www.eurozine.com/blog/in-memoriam-ales-debeljak-1961-2016/
On 28 January 2016, Ales Debeljak died in a car crash in Slovenia. He will be much missed as an agile and compelling essayist, a formidable public speaker and a charming personality. [more]

Conferences     click for more

Eurozine emerged from an informal network dating back to 1983. Since then, European cultural magazines have met annually in European cities to exchange ideas and experiences. Around 100 journals from almost every European country are now regularly involved in these meetings.
Mobilizing for the Commons
The 27th European Meeting of Cultural Journals
Gdańsk, 4-6 November 2016

http://www.eurozine.com/comp/gdansk2016_official.html
The Eurozine conference 2016 in Gdańsk will frame the general topic of solidarity with a focus on mobilizing for the commons. The conference will take place in the European Solidarity Centre in Gdańsk thus linking contemporary debates to the history of a broad, non-violent, anti-communist social movement which has started in the city's shipyard in 1980. [more]

Vacancies at Eurozine     click for more

There are currently no positions available.

Support Eurozine     click for more

If you appreciate Eurozine's work and would like to support our contribution to the establishment of a European public sphere, see information about making a donation.

Time to Talk     click for more

Time to Talk, a network of European Houses of Debate, has partnered up with Eurozine to launch an online platform. Here you can watch video highlights from all TTT events, anytime, anywhere.
Neda Deneva, Constantina Kouneva, Irina Nedeva and Yavor Siderov
Does migration intensify distrust in institutions?

http://www.eurozine.com/timetotalk/does-migration-intensify-distrust-in-institutions/
How do migration and institutional mistrust relate to one another? As a new wave of populism feeds on and promotes fears of migration, aggrandising itself through the distrust it sows, The Red House hosts a timely debate with a view to untangling the key issues. [more]

Editor's choice     click for more

Jürgen Habermas, Michaël Foessel
Critique and communication: Philosophy's missions

http://www.eurozine.com/articles/2015-10-16-habermas-en.html
Decades after first encountering Anglo-Saxon perspectives on democracy in occupied postwar Germany, Jürgen Habermas still stands by his commitment to a critical social theory that advances the cause of human emancipation. This follows a lifetime of philosophical dialogue. [more]

Literature     click for more

Karl Ove Knausgård
Out to where storytelling does not reach

http://www.eurozine.com/articles/2014-04-03-knausgard-en.html
To write is to write one's way through the preconceived and into the world on the other side, to see the world as children can, as fantastic or terrifying, but always rich and wide-open. Karl Ove Knausgård on creating literature. [more]

Jonathan Bousfield
Growing up in Kundera's Central Europe

http://www.eurozine.com/articles/2013-08-16-kuisz-en.html
Jonathan Bousfield talks to three award-winning novelists who spent their formative years in a Central Europe that Milan Kundera once described as the kidnapped West. It transpires that small nations may still be the bearers of important truths. [more]

Literary perspectives
The re-transnationalization of literary criticism

http://www.eurozine.com/comp/literaryperspectives.html
Eurozine's series of essays aims to provide an overview of diverse literary landscapes in Europe. Covered so far: Croatia, Sweden, Austria, Estonia, Ukraine, Northern Ireland, Slovenia, the Netherlands and Hungary. [more]

Debate series     click for more

Europe talks to Europe

http://www.eurozine.com/comp/europetalkstoeurope.html
Nationalism in Belgium might be different from nationalism in Ukraine, but if we want to understand the current European crisis and how to overcome it we need to take both into account. The debate series "Europe talks to Europe" is an attempt to turn European intellectual debate into a two-way street. [more]

Multimedia     click for more

http://www.eurozine.com/comp/multimedia.html
Multimedia section including videos of past Eurozine conferences in Vilnius (2009) and Sibiu (2007). [more]


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