The Daily News reported today that Weekly Reader was sold to Scholastic last February. It was cited that Scholastic was “axing all but five of Weekly Reader’s 60 employees in White Plains, NY.” I suppose that is an accurate (albeit broad-stroked) account. Those of us who have not been picked up have, for the most part, moved on. Though it’s probably safe to say that none of us will ever forget the work we did or the extraordinary people we collaborated with at our beloved company.
From my own perspective, working for such an inspiring piece of Americana was always a delight. Whenever I told someone what I did for a living, regardless of their age, they would more often than not respond: “Ohh, Weekly Reader! I used to love getting those in school! You guys are still around?” Heh. Well…
Despite the many challenges we faced in our final years, the incredibly talented team of dedicated people that put those educational periodicals (both elementary and secondary) together always gave it their all. ”Like all papers,” the Daily News reported, “Weekly Reader was struggling with changes roiling the print world and was under pressure to develop digital editions.” True, we struggled inasmuch as any other publishing company does in today’s world. But rather than shy from new technologies, we embraced them. We created digital editions of all our magazines, launched “e-issues” (educational, interactive, themed web sites), wrote blogs, and kept the lines of communication open with teachers and educators as we attempted to stay one step ahead of the ever-evolving classroom environment. In the end, I suppose Weekly Reader became a casualty of the times. It’s sad that we no longer get to work together in White Plains, doing what we love to do. But what’s more depressing is that this time-honored brand that so many of us grew up with, loved, trusted, and learned from is now but a memory.
I do look forward to seeing what Scholastic does in the future and I am confident that, though WR is no more, what it stood for will live on.
And to exit on a promising note: if anyone out there should ever require a talented, dedicated, creative editor, art director, photo editor, copy editor, production designer, or web designer for an educational or otherwise, print or digital publishing task, gig, job, or consult… I know sixty extraordinary candidates.