Vanity Fair Spikes the Green Issue


Vanity Fair Green Issue 2008

Some have always questioned the point of big glossy magazines doing celebrity-filled so-called green themed issues. Others thought that the more exposure that environmental issues got, the better. We certainly were excited in 2006 with Vanity Fair's first green issue, complete with our Graham Hill gracing the centerfold. We all pretty much agreed that it nuked the fridge last year with Madonna gracing the cover. Now we learn that Graydon Carter has spiked the green themed issue of Vanity Fair for this year.

But what does this bode for green journalism in general?

Vanity Fair Green Issue 2006

According to the Independent,

Condé Nast, publisher of Vanity Fair, argues that the environment has become so integral to the news agenda that there is no longer a need for a dedicated issue. "Vanity Fair remains committed to covering the environment, and we'll spread our coverage throughout the year, instead of relegating the bulk of it to a specific issue"

Right. Environmentalism is now so mainstream that it doesn't rate a special issue. But the Independent also notes that environmentalism has been pushed off the front page:

The latest figures from TNS Media Intelligence, a research firm, show that national newspaper coverage of environmental issues – including climate change, global warming, green consumerism and sustainability – fell by 27 per cent in 2008. In the first quarter, there were 3,866 articles published on green issues, compared with 2,811 in the final quarter.

The big story these days is the economic crisis, and Vanity Fair admits that it is a major focus for the magazine. But the environment shouldn't be pushed off the page; the former editor of the Ecologist is quoted:

"Maybe it [Vanity Fair] sees green issues as a luxury to be dropped in these tough times. If that's why, then it has misunderstood the nature of the crisis, and the things we need to do to solve it," says Zac Goldsmith, a former editor of The Ecologist and prospective Tory MP. "The recession makes the environmental cause more, not less relevant. We can emerge from this recession with a green economy where green choices currently available only to the wealthy become available to everyone."

More in the Independent.


Vanity Fair Green Issue 2007

Brian recently posted on the subject in TreeHugger:

Discover Magazine’s green issue this year sold around 20,000 less copies than its average—93,000 compared to its usual 115,000. Backpacker’s global warming issue suffered a similar fate, selling 5,000 less than its 50,000 average. The stalwart National Geographic Green Guide is dropping from a bimonthly to a quarterly.

So what’s the deal? Is everyone getting sick of hearing about climate change? Or how green and awesome celebrities are? Or are they just sick of the bandwagon approach, and the media treating environmentalism as though it were any other fad? My vote’s for the latter (well, a little for the second one too). Here’s why.


The Green Issue: Can Environmentalism Still Sell Magazines?

More on Vanity Fair Green Issue being spiked:
Vanity Fair's "Green Issue" Hits Newsstands Early
7 Celebrity Environmentalists in Need of Green 101
Vanity Fair Green Issue II: Bigger, Better, Longer Lasting