Park City Magazine pauses publication amid coronavirus downturn
The Park Record
The future of Park City Magazine is uncertain after its parent company furloughed employees at all its mountain town publications, citing revenue shortages due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Jane Gendron, editor of Park City Magazine, sent an email Thursday to inform the publication’s contributors of the news. In it, Gendron indicated she hoped the move would not be permanent.
Gendron, who was employed on a contract basis, was let go, while Janet Jorgensen, Park City Magazine’s publisher, was furloughed, according to Nicole Vogel, CEO of SagaCity Media, the publication’s Portland, Oregon-based parent company. Gendron and Jorgensen declined to comment.
Vogel clarified that the company has not ceased publication of any of its mountain town magazines, which also includes the Aspen Sojourner and Vail Magazine in the Colorado ski resort destinations. The publications are released twice a year, and the summer editions recently came out, Vogel said. The company hopes to be in a position to publish the winter editions.
“We are furloughing until it becomes clearer what winter will look like in Park City, and then we hope to bring our regular winter issue back,” she said.
Like many businesses tied directly or indirectly to the ski industry, SagaCity Media is waiting to see what effects COVID-19 will have, Vogel said.
“We are watching reports of resorts in the Southern Hemisphere being forced to close due to COVID and we don’t want to put ourselves in a position where we can’t come back by waiting too long to act,” she said. “We need to save monetary resources to account for the worst-case scenario of a winter without an open ski resort.”
Vogel said the reasoning behind the decision to pause publication of Park City Magazine is simple.
“Where retail, attractions, restaurants and bars go, so does the fate of Park City Magazine,” she said. “Our community of small businesses is really hurting and so Park City Magazine is hurting along with them.”
Vogel nevertheless said the decision was “heartbreaking.”
“These decisions are impossible,” she said. “There are no ‘good options’ when you’ve lost 50% of your revenue in the blink of an eye. And all those ‘options’ are people and families, not just numbers on a page.”
Park City Magazine has been a part of the community for more than 40 years and began publishing in 1977, highlighting the Park City lifestyle in vivid pieces ranging from spotlights of local restaurants to profiles of influential Parkites. Vogel said her hope is to continue that tradition for many more years. In order to do that, she said, it and other small businesses are going to need help.
“We don’t need less media right now at this critical juncture, we need more and, frankly, we need Congress to act again,” she said. “The CARES Act was a good first step but most of the businesses we know have exhausted their PPP funds. And economic recovery can only happen when people feel safe.
“I wish we looked like Europe right now — reopening, very few cases, tracing all positive cases — unfortunately we don’t look like that, and the uncertainty of people’s personal safety is a death blow to small businesses trying to return to some sense of normalcy.”
Despite those concerns, Vogel said she is optimistic about the future of Park City Magazine.
“We believe, and hope, (the pause) will be temporary.”
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Tourism revenue increased month over month this summer, the Park City Chamber/Bureau reported, but lodging numbers are still off 22% for December. Officials reported a recent uptick in bookings, though, pointing to a modicum of certainty after ski resorts announced their COVID-related opening policies.