Why Audubon Magazine Is Getting Rid of Its Ads

By reclaiming former ad pages, we’re able to give our readers an even more beautiful magazine.

With this issue, we unveil a new approach to publishing Audubon: We’ve dropped most of the ads. The decision sprang from our dawning conviction that it no longer makes sense to run advertisements from companies that have a merely mercantile relationship with Audubon, that are just buying space in these pages. Frankly, the revenues raised were insufficient to justify the effort expended—not to mention the visual chaos the ads tended to inflict upon this beautiful publication. Going forward, we’ll feature advertising only from companies and organizations that have meaningful partnerships with the National Audubon Society. (On the back cover, you’ll find an exemplar of this, an ad from Aveda, which is dedicating the proceeds from every bottle sold of its new fragrance, Love, to Audubon’s Climate Initiative.)

I could not be more thrilled; I suspect you will be, too. Getting rid of the ads liberates us from ugly ad/edit juxtapositions and from the need to squeeze our stories into the spaces between fractional-page advertisements; it allows us to go even bigger with the dazzling photography that has always been an Audubon hallmark, to capture even more gloriously the beauty of the birds and habitats that benefit from your commitment to this organization and its mission. We’ve also upped the quality of the paper we’re printing on, to make that photography really pop, while sticking to 100 percent recycled stock. And we’ll publish at least a half-dozen more editorial pages in every issue.

We intend to exploit this bounty wisely, as you can see already: A gallery of photos, like the one that immediately follows the front cover, will open every issue. A new regular feature, “Flock Together,” will be a photo-driven celebration of people whose passion for birds takes flight in particularly inspiring ways. And we’re building deep, authoritative online guides chock-full of instruction, tips, and essential information to help you enhance your connection to birds in three key areas—birding, travel, and photography—with a spread dedicated to each of them in every issue of the magazine.

Another change this issue is more bittersweet: It’s the last one for our revered director of production and operations, Heidi DeVos, who retires after 23 years spent ensuring that Audubon arrives in members’ hands at the highest quality and lowest carbon expense possible. (She’s the one who shepherded the magazine to recycled stock, dropping the entire organization’s carbon footprint by 7 percent.) Have fun in that garden, Heidi; we’ll miss you.