It's been kind of funny to watch the coverage of Conde Nast's decision to shut down Gourmet magazine. Most coverage seems to try to find a larger meaning, without going to the obvious story that it's just part of the decline of print media.
ABC News led with something like "a beloved magazine is disappearing from kitchen tables." But that's wrong--Gourmet was never in the kitchen. Cook's Illustrated is in the kitchen. Saveur is on the coffee table (that's not to knock it--it's a beautiful magazine with great stories about authentic cuisine, though I expect the recipes are rarely made). Eating Well is maybe in the kitchen, or on the bedside table as you actually plan your menu for the week. I could try to say something like Gourmet was in the magazine rack in the bathroom, but that's meaner than I intend. Obviously, Gourmet was on the magazine rack at the newsstand, and that's why it is gone.
It had one of the best food editors, Ruth Reichl, and yet it didn't seem like her magazine. It lacked any real clear voice or point of view. Cook's, like its sister television show makes clear, is about the test kitchen. They make a dish a dozen different ways, tinker with it, and perfect it. Other magazines aim at healthy eating, or true foodie cooking (Saveur will explore how authentic bouillabaisse is made, and tell you where to get good saffron), or even down home cooking like Cook's Country. Gourmet, like Bon Appetit (the title Conde Nast kept) really lacked any clear direction (go check out the website for the magazines, Epicurious and you'll see).
Just as I argue that the future of newspapers lies in covering local and neighborhood stories very well (even as most papers are cutting back on local staffs and trying to hold on to their D.C. bureaus), I think the future of magazines is in having a clear point of view, while still covering a fairly broad range of topics.