THE BLOG
07/17/2007 12:32 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Since Being Sold, Utne Reader Has Lost Its Edge

And maybe its soul, as well.

I was a loyal Utne, well, reader and subscriber for at least a decade. Every two months, my treasured copy would arrive, and I would devour it cover to cover. And then I would do it again, and again.

Why? The out-of-the-box articles, the reviews of art and culture that would never be embraced by the mainstream media. The person-to-person tone of so many of these original and excerpted articles, in which you felt you and the author were having enlightened conversations over coffee.

Speaking of coffee references, I also loved Cafe Utne, a collection of online Forums where free expression and thought was embraced.

But then, things started going downhill. Cafe Utne was dropped a few years ago. And then last year tragedy struck. Utne was sold to Ogden Publications, who currently publish Mother Earth News.

It may just be me, but Utne Reader bores me now. I let my subscription lapse last year. I still thumb through it on the stands every two months, but none of the content I scanned screamed out for me to buy the issue. The online site is still pretty interesting, but not Utne dead-tree.

Part of the reason for this, I strongly suspect, is that the founding Utne family is more or less gone. Eric left years ago to pursue his life's passions. His brilliant and talented spouse, Nina Rothschild Utne, has been reduced to a contributor role with little or no real power to shape the publication's direction.

I wonder how many other HuffPost readers share my opinion that, sadly and I daresay tragically, Utne Reader isn't what it was.