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How a 72-year-old magazine beat the pandemic, re-hired staffers, and bounced back to business


It was late March of this year when San Diego magazine shuttered its operations and laid off most of its staff due to recently-imposed lockdown restrictions. At the time, publisher Jim Fitzpatrick stressed this was a temporary pause.

He was correct, according to Greg Dool writing in Folio:, who reports that “three months later, the 72-year-old publication says it’s back in business.”

“This month, we are happy to announce that we have reopened our doors. We’re excited to once again tell the stories of the people and businesses making San Diego the incredible city it is,” wrote editor-in-chief Erin Meanley Glenny on the magazine’s website.

“In total, 20 of the 37 staffers who were laid off in March have been re-hired, Fitzpatrick told Folio: in an email, adding that the plan is to eventually bring the staff back to full capacity, ‘but it depends on market conditions,’” Dool explains.

Because the magazine draws much of its ad revenue from public events and businesses, all of which were essentially closed, the decision was made to temporarily shut down … but all along they had full intentions of coming back into print when it made sense to do so.

“Shutting down was strictly a business decision due to outside forces, including an absence of public events and advertisers on hold,” Fitzpatrick explained in an article in the Times of San Diego. “The people, places and things that we typically write about weren’t open. But, I never doubted that we would re-launch and return in the near future, it was just a matter of when.”

But it won’t be completely business as usual; the normally monthly magazine will be printing every other month through year’s end, with an eye toward returning to a monthly schedule when we finally close the books on 2020. Subscribers will get an extra three issues tacked onto their existing plan to make up the balance.

And there’s another welcome change on the horizon, in light of the current social unrest around racial justice. Fitzpatrick, who in the past was a visible detractor of NFL players kneeling for the national anthem, now says he was wrong in his thinking around of this issue, saying it took the recent killing of George Floyd for him to understand the severity of the problem of police brutality.

His new awareness appears to be influencing the magazine’s online content, which recently included a piece on black-owned restaurants in San Diego.

“San Diego Magazine is committed to highlighting a diverse set of voices from our community, and while we are currently operating with a reduced staff because of the coronavirus outbreak, as we expand and are able to begin hiring for new positions, I will ensure that our hiring practices seek to better represent the diversity of our great city,” he writes.

I look forward to welcoming back a great magazine and applaud its efforts to improve its coverage of the diversity in that beautiful city. Welcome back, San Diego.

David Pilcher
VP of Sales & Marketing, Freeport Press

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