The Prysms folds after three-month run

Publisher says readers responded favorably, but it was a different story with advertisers.
Saturday, October 6, 2007 | 6:40 p.m. CDT; updated 12:22 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

COLUMBIA — The alternative publication “The Prysms Weekly” is calling it quits after a three-month run.

The publication, which described itself as an advocate for “First Amendment and citizen writership”, began publishing in July and had difficulty attracting advertisers.

Publisher and regular contributing writer Tim Rappleano announced the decision on the Prysms’ Web site.

“Business is always risky,” Rappleano wrote. “I honestly thought that advertisers would have been more interested in supporting our publication, but this hasn’t materialized.”

In an e-mail to the Missourian, Rappleano elaborated on the theme.

“People loved us, but businesses didn’t,” Rappleano wrote. “We were circulating 6,500 copies across Columbia yet advertisers would not touch us.”

Mike Martin, a freelance science writer in Columbia, takes a more practical view. Martin runs an online newsletter that covers the north-central Columbia neighborhood.

“It takes a lot of money and overhead cost to do print media these days,” Martin said. “Online it’s a different environment, and that’s where more and more people are going.”

The Columbia media market is a competitive environment, said Lili Vianello, president of consulting firm Visionworks Marketing & Communications. She said she suspected Rappleano didn’t effectively market the magazine to potential advertisers.

“Most businesses think of marketing as an afterthought,” Vianello said.

Local business owner and Prysms advertiser Cheryl Guthrie is sorry to see the paper go.

“I liked the paper’s general philosophy of basically supporting free speech,” said Guthrie, who runs New Beginning Consignment Clothing Store. “It was in concert with our own thinking.”

Prysms primarily featured the work of Columbia “citizen” writers on varied topics, such as Iraq, free speech, spiritual healing and popular film. The final cover story for the paper was entitled “No Bull: The Vegetarian’s Guide to Columbia Dining.”

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