After 151 years, Popular Science will no longer be available to purchase as a magazine. In a statement to The Verge, Cathy Hebert, the communications director for PopSci owner Recurrent Ventures, says the outlet needs to “evolve” beyond its magazine product, which published its first all-digital issue in 2021.
PopSci, which covers a whole range of stories related to the fields of science, technology, and nature, published its first issue in 1872. Things have changed a lot over the years, with the magazine switching to a quarterly publication schedule in 2018 and doing away with the physical copies altogether after 2020.
In a post on LinkedIn, former PopSci editor Purbita Saha commented on the magazine’s discontinuation, stating she’s “frustrated, incensed, and appalled that the owners shut down a pioneering publication that’s adapted to 151 years worth of changes in the space of a five-minute Zoom call.” Layoffs have impacted journalists on the science beat particularly hard in recent weeks. National Geographic cut the remainder of the magazine’s editorial staff in June, followed by Gizmodo laying off its last climate reporter, and CNBC shuttering its climate desk last week.
“PopSci is a phenomenal brand, and as consumer trends shift it’s important we prioritize investment in new formats,” Herbert tells The Verge. “We believe that the content strategy has to evolve beyond the digital magazine product. A combination of its news team, along with commerce, video, and other initiatives, will produce content that naturally aligns with PopSci’s mission.”
PopSci laid off several employees earlier this month, leaving around five editorial staff members
In addition to dropping its magazine format, PopSci laid off several employees earlier this month, leaving around five editorial staff members and “a few” workers on the publication’s commerce team, according to Axios. The digital media group Recurrent Ventures acquired PopSci in 2021 and named its third CEO in three years just one week before the layoffs hit.
PopSci will continue to offer articles on its website, along with its PopSci Plus subscription, which offers access to exclusive content and the magazine’s archive. However, its discontinuation marks the end of an era, and the other cuts across the science journalism field won’t make it easier to stay up to date on the state of our climate or dive into fascinating stories that you might not otherwise come across without the media outlets that bring them to our attention.