'The Good Life' Says Goodbye

Shrinking economy forces monthly magazine to close shop

'The Good Life' Says Goodbye

The Good Life, a monthly community maga­zine, has fallen victim to a cash-strapped economy. Publisher Rebecca Melan­çon and Editor Ken Martin announced last week that the free publication's January issue would be its last and that its online presence – which had recently undergone a long-overdue upgrade – would ultimately cease as well. The husband-and-wife publishing team started The Good Life more than 11 years ago, specifically targeting an audience of aging baby boomers bent on living life to the fullest. As such, the progressive-leaning magazine focused its content on consumer and health-care issues, local political debates, and profiles on Austin personalities. Craig McDonald, executive director of the watchdog group Texans for Public Justice, had the sad distinction of appearing on the cover of The Good Life's final issue.

The magazine, like most publishing outfits with modest budgets, survived by dint of hard work, a committed force of local advertisers, and a small but loyal base of readers. The monthly's extended family included longtime contributors who were willing to work for peanuts, such as writer/activist Kathy Mitchell and the photography duo of Barton Wilder.

"The Good Life has always been a labor of love as much as a business," Melançon wrote in a farewell letter to the magazine's advertisers and supporters. "Now the current economic conditions make it impossible for us to continue."

Melançon and Martin have a long publishing history in Austin. They served as publisher and editor, respectively, of the Austin Busi­­ness Journal, until the weekly's acquisition by American City Business Journals Inc., in the early Nineties. American City fired the couple almost immediately after the purchase. They then launched In Fact Daily, an online publication covering the day-to-day maneuverings at City Hall, now owned by Jo Clifton.

Asked if the couple had any immediate plans for a new venture, Melançon replied by e-mail: "Our entrepreneurial spirit is a little bruised right now so our agenda (or at least mine) is serious margarita therapy for at least a week!" She added, "I have been blown away by the warm and heartfelt good wishes we have received" since announcing the publication's closure. "For all those times I thought 'is anyone out there reading this stuff?' they were and they loved Good Life as much as we did."

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More The Good Life
L'Amour Pour le Weekend
L'Amour Pour le Weekend
New French Cinema gems courtesy of AFS

Josh Kupecki, June 3, 2016

Media Clips
Media Clips
Just the Facts: Ken Martin Sells In Fact Daily To Focus On The Good Life

Lee Nichols, June 30, 2000

More by Amy Smith
Well-Behaved? Let's Assume Not.
Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis: The Untold Story
Barbara Leaming's new biography makes the case that Jackie O suffered from PTSD

Nov. 28, 2014

Section 8 Reopens
Section 8 Reopens
Hurry up ... and wait!

Oct. 3, 2014


The Good Life, Rebecca Melançon, Ken Martin

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle