Magazines Are Not Dead

The magazine like the newspaper has been the target of doomsday predictions for years. It is finally succumbing to the internet, the economy, and the shifting preferences of readers and advertisers, but the magazine is far from dead.

An Important Time in a Media's Life

Much like the exit from a long held career or the end of college, the magazine has reached a point in its life where it must decide what it wants to do with its life and who it wants to be. The magazine will surely move to the digital frontier over the next 10 or so years, and certain publications will go kicking and screaming while others lead the pack. During this time the format will have to decide, or rather be told, if they should include video, interactive features, sounds, or other interesting items for its users to enjoy.  A magazine isn't defined by its distribution method, currently glossy paper, it's defined by its format.

Why Magazines Won't Die

Magazines have an important function for many people that cannot be fulfilled by other mediums. They present information in a well-organized fashion for a niche hobby, activity, or interest.  For many, magazines allow them to be plugged in to the topic or topics they are interested in, without investing as much time or effort as following blogs or other internet services.  They tell you what you need and want to know, so you don't have to sift through tons of information to find the diamond in the rough.

A good publication is often a well-oiled machine ( Replace with better metaphor), there are many players that know there job and do it well. They have resources to interview important people, travel to the story, buy things, and more. Their myriad resources provide valuable quality content to the masses that other mediums are unable to produce.  Much of this content has a much longer shelf life than the average fodder of the netitubes. A story about the scorched earth surrounding heavy metal mines can be read for months, years, or decades after it was written and still be interesting, while an article about the new IPhone can go stale in days.

Finally Magazines are easy to read. You can pick them up and put them down at will. There are pictures, graphs, and a mastery of visual content layout that websites can only dream of. There is a lot to be said for something that is pleasing to the eye.

The Magazine is Not Immortal

The magazine will likely not live forever, but I feel that it has a long life ahead of it. It will last a bit longer in the paper format while it is slowly adapted for iPads, Android tablets, and PC's.  Magazine publishers in general will take a huge dive, until the digital model sinks in and tools are developed for the new direction. It will then start picking up a full head of steam as talented individuals begin to utilize their skills to make them in small scale teams and then to ramp up into bigger publications bringing the magazine back!

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1 Response to Magazines Are Not Dead

November 15, 2010 at 9:18 PM

I'm glad you picked a magazine such as wired to demonstrate your point. They're an insanely successful print magazine that also features all of their content and more online. They're doing both and doing them well.

Sadly I stopped subscribing to my mags because of the waste they generate and the fact I can read articles on my phone nowadays.

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