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Life Magazine Bites the Dust; Increasing Costs Cause Death


Time, Inc., announced yesterday that the Life Magazine, 36-year-old pioneer of weekly pictorial journalism would be issued for the last time on December 29.

Over the past four years, the magazine has lost an estimated $30 million. Attempts to spur a financial upswing by cutting distribution "a solid demographic, circulation" were frustrated by drops in advertisers and a 170 per cent increase in second class postal rates over the last five years, an official at Time said yesterday.

"The problem dates to 1950. Life's form of photojournalism and its appeal as an advertising medium were weakened by the advent of television," Louis Slovinsky, manager of Press Relations, said. The magazine's losses were "especially discouraging in light of the upsurge in the economy and the success of other news magazines."

Andrew Heiskell, chairman of the board of Time, Inc., accused the Nixon administration of "pushing the floor up and the ceiling down so we can't breathe," the Associated Press reported.

"The company decided that Life could be a burden to the growth of other magazines and enterprises of Time, Inc., and slow down the progress of the corporation," Slovinsky said.

Life magazine's demise follows the foldings of Look and The Saturday Evening Post.

Slovinsky said executives had considered reducing the size of the page but "it would no longer be a showcase for great pictures."

Tommy Thompson, a Life writer for 12 years, said yesterday that the folding of the magazine "is enormously said. We were the last dinosaur," Thomas added.

Slovinsky said that "Life brought to the American public, pictures that showed how the world lived and that showed reflections of themselves."

The cessation publication will affect 320 Life staffers and 350 Time, Inc. employee.

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