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Source Runs Dry as Weekly Magazine Quits Publication

The Source for San Diego, a weekly publication with sports, entertainment and general-interest articles wrapped around television listings, ceased publication Friday after only three months on the market.

Published by Trader Publications, which also publishes the Auto Trader, the Source started in July with a glossy cover, a roster of free-lance writers and a $1.95 cover price. Six full-time staffers were hired for the editorial department alone. A month later, the price was dropped to $1 and the free-lance budget disappeared, as well as the glossy covers and about 40 pages of copy.

“It just didn’t go the way we thought it would go, primarily in the sales area,” publisher Mark Barlow said. “Getting advertisers to believe that people actually read the magazine was near-impossible.”

Barlow said that, even with a drastically trimmed budget, the magazine was not able to meet income projections, either in newsstand sales or advertising revenue. The magazine’s circulation peaked at 20,000, including copies distributed free, Barlow said

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“It’s a real tough market,” he said. “I don’t know how anybody can survive long enough to say it is a viable product.”

Source editor Jean Henshaw was laid off earlier in the week, but staffers believed the publication would continue. On Friday, they were told the publication was dead, and they were given two weeks’ severance pay.

“This is a crazy, stupid business,” entertainment editor Dan Bennett said. “That’s why I love it.”


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