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THIS ISSUE CAME TOGETHER much like past issues. We came up with our story ideas and reported them out. We recruited freelancers to research and write other stories. And we assigned photographers to take pictures. We spent a lot of time putting the magazine together while continuing to write stories for the CommonWealth website, and producing the digital Daily Download, Back Story, and Upload.

I liked how the print magazine turned out. The story on Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia is a great read. The Conversation with three of the MBTA’s younger leaders offers a glimpse inside an organization trying to shake off its stodgy image. Our report on how the benefits of the film tax credit are not distributed equally around the state —and instead flow primarily to Greater Boston—should prompt an interesting public policy debate. And our feature on stormwater pollution, and the fees municipalities are starting to impose to deal with it, offers hints at how cities and towns may deal with climate change and other environmental concerns in the future.

Still, the print magazine is a very heavy lift for a small staff, and sometimes it feels like we’re reaching a breaking point. The heavy workload has prompted an internal conversation here about whether we should keep publishing the quarterly print magazine or whether we should focus our time and resources on the magazine website and its popular digital products.

Everyone has an opinion. Some feel the print magazine is a part of CommonWealth’s brand, and we should keep publishing it to be true to our mission. Some say the print magazine is what is distinctive about CommonWealth, and to abandon it would be the equivalent of giving up our soul. Some just like reading a print magazine, and like checking out the cover.

The other point of view is that print publications are slowly dying as news and analysis gravitates online. In many ways, CommonWealth illustrates this trend. The magazine started out more than 20 years ago as a quarterly print publication. But with the growth of the internet we launched a magazine website in 2009 with grants from the Knight and Boston foundations.  Since launching the website, MassINC has made sizable, regular investments in CommonWealth’s digital platforms from our operating budget and attracted a significant and growing following online. Today, most of our readers read us online.

In trying to decide whether to continue publishing the print magazine, two issues are paramount. The first is the opportunity cost of producing the print magazine and what could be done with the staff time devoted to the print publication if it were redeployed online. Basically, we would have more time to do what we do best—report and analyze the news. The second is that the significant financial resources we invest in preparing, printing, and mailing out the magazine would be saved and could be invested in journalists and the website.

Meet the Author

Bruce Mohl

Editor, CommonWealth

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

Also, we could take the most distinctive and important elements of the print magazine and continue publishing them online. It may make sense to keep up the quarterly schedule, publishing a slimmed-down online magazine every three months featuring a cover, our distinctive in-depth articles, and the Conversation.

These are some of the issues we’re struggling with. But we could use your help in making this decision. We know who receives a copy of the print magazine, but we don’t know how many actually read it anymore. Which is why I’m inviting you to send your email address to me (at bmohl@massinc.org) so we can include you in an online survey asking your thoughts. Feel free to share your thoughts directly with me if you want. Please help us figure out the right course to take.