Decatur-based music and arts magazine Paste lays off staff

From their small office in Decatur, the staff of a dozen or so at Paste Magazine produced a journal on music, film, gaming and other popular culture that traveled the world.

Now, the owners of the monthly  have shut down their internationally-distributed magazine and laid off the entire staff -- all 11 of them -- though they vowed to continue publishing online.

"We're still in business, we're just putting the print magazine on hiatus," editor Josh Jackson told the AJC Wednesday. "We had to basically lay off the entire staff," he added.

Paste operates from a retail complex on College Avenue in Decatur, near a popular pasta restaurant. It started in 2002 and grew with the help of a widely-publicized effort in 2007 to boost subscriptions: they offered them for free, or for whatever anyone was willing to pay.

The circulation grew to 205,000 per issue, said publisher Nick Purdy. That number included paid subscribers, rack sales and giveaways.

The problem, said Jackson, wasn't a lack of readers: it was the recession and a lack of advertising dollars.

"The advertising market crashed," he said.

Despite the publication's dwindling fortunes, the layoffs Tuesday came as something of a surprise. The owners thought they had an investor lined up.

"We've been trying to raise capital for a long time, and we had a deal that was about to close," Jackson said. "And it just fell apart."

He and the two other co-founders -- Purdy and president Tim Regan-Porter -- will continue publishing online. They're hoping an economic recovery will lead to a revival of  the publication.

"We don't see this as the magazine being dead," Jackson said. "We just see it as taking a break right now."