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Raising a glass to 'PC Magazine' as print edition goes offline

CNET's Rich Brown looks back as PC Magazine shuts down print edition, goes online only.

PC Magazine Volume 1, Issue 1, January 1982.

Silicon Alley Insider reported Wednesday morning that after 26 years in circulation, Ziff Davis Publishing's PC Magazine will issue its last print edition in January 2009. Going forward, all of its publishing efforts will shift to the online edition, We're told the majority of the magazine's content editors will remain on staff, however, members of the print production, ad sales, and circulation staff have been let go.

If the idea of buying a print publication for technology news seems anachronistic today, during the height of its run, PC Magazine was a star of the magazine world, regularly printing 400- and 500-page issues. Throughout the '80s and most of the '90s it was the most influential source for technology product reviews and it set the standard for objective, lab-based computer and technology testing.

That heritage remains alive in its current lab, as well as here at CNET, which employs several former PC Mag staffers, myself included. Pretty much any Web site that runs a technology benchmark has PC Magazine to thank for its work in establishing legitimate consumer technology testing methods.

I'll also confess to a personal affection for PC Magazine. It gave me my first freelance assignment, a review of the 1993 CD-ROM game Voyeur. Back when it relied heavily on freelance writers, PC Magazine employed both of my parents steadily for years as contributing editors. Several of my best friends work there, including the best man at my wedding.

If you follow the media or technology industries (or the global economy in general), it's perhaps not surprising that PC Magazine has turned its attention exclusively toward the online realm. And while it may no longer round up 100 printers over a summer, or 100 desktops in the fall, its tradition of rigorous lab-based testing and insightful technology industry analysis lives on at We know it will keep up the good work.

(Thanks to PaidContent, which had this story first.)