By Katie Miller
For nearly a decade, Dallas fashionistas and style fiends have flipped through the slick, stylish pages of FD Magazine every month. At first glance, the February issue appears to be no different. An elfin brunette in a white geometric top lies amid red faux-spring foliage on the cover. Then you see it. The words “Our Last Issue” seem to appear from nowhere.
The Dallas Morning News announced last month that it will no longer publish either FD, its award-winning monthly magazine dedicated to all things style, or NeighborsGo, community publications which focused on individual Dallas neighborhoods. An article on The Dallas Morning News website says that 19 positions have been cut with the loss of these publications.
“Fashion Dallas,” a weekly section in The News, became its own publication, FD Magazine, in 2006 under editor-in-chief Tracy Achor Hayes. Hayes said that FD became much more than just a fashion magazine: “Fashion burst out of its boundaries.”
Hayes, who is now the editorial director for Neiman Marcus, handed over the reins in 2011 to editor-in-chief Rob Brinkley. Under Brinkley, Hayes said, FD shifted “into more general interest with an edge.” The magazine covered local art, fashion and the events that brought Dallas society together.
While the magazine was deeply rooted in the Dallas community and ran full-page advertisements from luxury brands like Rolex and Cartier, the closure appeared to be financially based.
Lindsay Jacaman, group publisher of FD, wrote in the final issue: “The decision was financial, and was not made lightly. It reflects the ever-shifting habits of readers and advertisers. The times, they are a-changin’.”
In his final Letter from The Editor, Brinkley also suggested that business reasons were the primary reason for the magazine’s closure: “You are shocked. You are sad and mad. I am, too. The backpack of rations the Morning News has to gingerly carry across the minefield that is the media business today doesn’t have room for a printed style magazine.”
Jake Batsell, a former staff member at The Dallas Morning News, currently is a journalism professor at SMU. He says that FD’s high freelance costs may have played a role in its demise.
“I think the level of sophistication they had reached was such that it was an expensive magazine to produce,” Batsell said.
Another contributing factor may have been that The Dallas Morning News, led by its new editor, Mike Wilson, has been undergoing a restructuring to focus more on its digital presence.
“[FD] never really had a strong robust digital presence. There was no strong ongoing conversation,” Batsell said.
Both Batsell and Hayes agree that print journalism is on a downward trend. However, Batsell said that FD’s closure could leave an opening for a new fashion-oriented magazine in Dallas. Hayes agrees, but said it will not be an easy task.
“If FD couldn’t do it with all its history and awards, it may not be possible in today’s business climate,” Hayes said.
FD successfully connected the Dallas creative community and launched numerous careers in the industry, Hayes said.
While readers mourn the loss of a creative magazine, Hayes points to another loss: “The saddest [loss] is the loss of the people who contributed creatively.”