DisciplesWorld magazine to cease publication: An award-winning independent journal

DisciplesWorld, an award-winning magazine that covered the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) as an independent journal, is shutting its doors after eight years of publication.

“We’ve made a valiant effort,” publisher and editor Verity A. Jones said in a December 16 statement that cited declining subscription and advertising revenue and a decrease in charitable gifts.

DisciplesWorld had come close to ceasing publication several times in recent years but had been able to continue after receiving a major grant. It had also switched to bi-monthly publication after originally being published 10 times annually.

Over the last 12 months, however, paid circulation dropped 9 percent after having declined 21 percent the previous year, the nonprofit journal reported. “Eliminating staff positions, lowering salaries, and reducing magazine frequency and pages did not close the gap,” Jones said.

“The dramatic downturn of two areas in which we operate—print journalism and denominational life—have proved too powerful for DisciplesWorld to escape,” she said.

As a publication that covered the denomination but was independent of it, DisciplesWorld was able to cover a variety of controversial issues, including homosexuality, war, immigration and gun control. The magazine won numerous awards from the Associated Church Press, a trade association, for its reporting.

The magazine was launched in 2002 by James Suggs and Robert Friedly, who were publisher and editor respectively of The Disciple, an official denominational publication, which ended publication that same year for financial reasons. Jones was hired in 2003 as editor and publisher.

The magazine’s Web site will remain live during the magazine’s “wind-down process.” Officials said that donations would be used to pay obligations to creditors.