Apropos the comments to Geoff's Arizona Highways Photography Guide Review, people might be interested to know that the magazine itself is experiencing considerable difficulties. Here's a link to a July, 2007 article by Dennis Wagner of The Arizona Republic (a newspaper, ironically suffering declining circulation itself) detailing the magazine's mission, history, and current woes.
I find this stuff interesting. As many readers know, I used to be the Editor of a national newsstand photography magazine, a bimonthly. However, the main page of this very website—certainly not the largest photography site on the web by any stretch—got considerably more page views in each of the last two days than my former magazine's subscription circulation and newsstand sales combined. (I'm not sure our average daily readership beats theirs—although it might—but on our good days it sure does.)
Who pays for that?
The emerging problem of the decline of print appears to be: who then pays for reporting? And in our own field, who pays for original photography, whether it's photojournalism, documentary, or features? The internet does some things better than print, but as a society we still need newspapers, magazines, and books—at least until a new model emerges that provides support for what we've had in the past.
I've always thought Arizona Highways was a great idea, even though what it offered was never my personal cup of tea. In fact, in an ideal world, every state would have a magazine that supported statewide reporting and photography documentary and features.
I've also always thought that major cities should have "official documentary photographers" whose job it is to get out and document the ever-changing face of our cities and neighborhoods. I suppose taxpayers, who are notoriously penny-wise and pound-foolish (in the U.S. that would be "cent-wise and dollar-foolish"—we'll raise the roof over misspent millions but never bat a pretty eyelash at unaccounted-for billions) would never go for it. It's still a good idea. Why rely on random chance to document our ever-changing world?
Too bad something like that was never established in the 1850s. If it had been, it would be so entrenched by now that you'd never get rid of it. As it is, it's something we'll never have.