What a great thread.
I used to LOVE View Camera, and I used to like Camera Arts. For years I knew no other LF practitioners so EVERY piece of information I got about the niche was from VC Magazine. I would find it in the mailbox every other month (an excruciating time to wait) and begin thumbing through it before even putting down the rest of the mail and my keys.
Then I found Tuan's site. Then Greenspun's forum. Then Ed Buffaloe's. Michael & Paula's. Then APUG.
And now, I have to tell you, last month's issue of VC magazine is the first one I have picked up in months. Because of resources like APUG I just don't need it like I once did. I used to patiently suffer through portfolios of still lifes or pola transfers, etc, waiting for months for landscapes or portraits or something a little more relevant to me to be published. Now I just turn on the computer, search around, come here, go there, and I get more than I EVER got from the magazine.
So here's my real comment: I think View Camera magazine, angalog, is being replaced by places like this, digital. There are fewer pictures here but there is SO MUCH MORE information. And it's customized. Just yesterday I asked about a $850 Red Dot Artar and got 10 good, informative responses within 24 hours. How could VC or Camera Arts or any other magazine ever compete with THAT?
For Steve Simmons, there is a balance. He needs advertisers to pay for the magazine. But he needs an audience that will buy his advertisers' products. And his ability to attract and hold readers is 100% dependant on how informative and relevant and entertaining his magazines are to us.
View Camera and Camera Arts are less of all three to me. So I am one less reader he is able to sell to his advertisers. Now he needs me to be replaced by someone new who finds his magazines informative, entertaining, and relevant, or he needs to change his magazines to become informative, entertaining, and relevant to a whole new (and growing, instead of plateauing or dwindling) audience.
Which, it looks like, he is doing.