Now whither magazines?

I’m stage-managing a panel about magazines in the era of search at the Magazine Publishers of America confab in New York on Thursday. It’s the shortest panel on record: a half-hour. Those of you who know me will know to fear how fast I’ll be talking to cram any questions into that slim slot.

For some context, see German magmogul Hubert Burda in my post, The last presses, saying that he is now investing in relationship software, not content or distribution. See my post above responding to the question in a print magazine, “Is print dead?” And see Paid Content wrapping up the Digital Magazine forum:

A big question – as Bob Carrigan, and a panel leader, consultant and newsletter publisher Bob Sacks, pointed out – is whether any of these magazine-to-Web models is really a way to go, whether they ultimately ignore the power of the technology, and its applications that allow creation of community, complete customization, push and pull syndication, additive linking, hyperlocal service, database mapping, database manipulation, on-demand media, meta-search beyond text, and on and on.

Here are a few of the questions on my list. Please add more.

* In an age of search-engine optimization — when people are finding content via search, when Google has become the home page for all content sites — are magazines left out in the cold because they don’t put articles online or put them behind walls or move them to archives or don’t have rights to keep them up? Are you planning to or do you now put your content up online at permanent addresses so it can be part of the conversation (in blogs, tags, and such) and receive search-engine optimization for your brands? Or not?

* Is search proving to be means of selling subscriptions or of branding?

* Google is a brand killer. People find information via Google and don’t necessarily credit the sites that end up giving it to them. This affects newspaper and reference sites. Are magazines in a stronger position with their stronger brands and voices? Or not?

* What is your worst fear about Google?

* Google is planning to do to print what it has done to online by buying magazine pages and reselling them to advertisers. Are any of you taking part in or planning to take part in this? Do you fear this commoditizes you? Or do you think it brings you new advertisers?

* Do any of you think the day will come when print will be the value-added to a larger online product, audience, and brand?

* Search is just one aspect of online. Do you have parallel strategies to share regarding citizens’ media, distributed ad networks, blogs, podcasts, video, tagging, wikis, communities, and so on?

What else do you want to ask mag execs, including Bob Carrigan, president of IDG Communications; Lauren Wiener, vice-president of Meredith Interactive; and Michael Smith, general manager of