An introduction to the Magazine Diaries

I stumbled across an old New Yorker cartoon a while back. The forever-missing Wally is sat alone at a bar in his trademark hat and stripes. Four or five drinks in, he complains, “Nobody ever asks how’s Wally?”.

That’s how I feel about working in magazines. Everyone is frantically searching for a sustainable future, endlessly debating where our industry is headed, how best to make money, how best to save money, what new platform will or won’t work. No one ever stops to ask anyone else how they feel about making magazines in the middle of the biggest disruption in publishing history. Continue reading

The biggest disruption?

Is this really the ‘biggest disruption in publishing history’?

Really? The first magazine I worked on was set in hot metal.

Since then, jobs that surrounded the print industry; compositors, photo headline-setting, b/w photographic labs, cow gum, typesetting, repro-houses, the four-pint lunch hour… (I could go on) have largely disappeared. The editorial designer has had to take up most of these professions.

Now we have ‘digital’ or ‘multi-platform delivery systems’. There’s no difference. Quality words and good pictures still need to be displayed in a relatively pleasing manner.

Just recognise that fact and pay us properly. It’s all we ask.

Shem Law | Art Director, Radio Times

Irrelevance

Magazine brands used to define who you were. They created tribes. They made the world smaller.

The web has made that relevancy largely redundant – the trust now lies in the peer group rather than the publisher.

The real problem magazine brands face now is one of irrelevance, which is due – purely – to a lack of innovation and empathy with user behaviour. The solution to this seems to be to embrace technology, but all this does is change the delivery method.

In reality, magazine brands need to redefine their value proposition, understand their users and find a definitive reason to exist.

Rob Boynes | Creative Consultant and Founder, F&W

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28 Reasons sad kitten GIFs can’t replace magazines…

… number 28 will make you hug yourself.

Harold Hayes, Hunter S. Thompson, Truman Capote, Clay Felker, Vanity Fair, Lester Bangs, Steven Wells, Stanley Booth, Julie Burchill, Gay Talese, George Lois, David Carson, WC Heinz, Sounds, Annie Leibovitz, Terry O’Neill, NME, Pornalikes, Paul Morley, Neon, Nova, National Geographic, Norman Mailer, Melody Maker, Marvel, DC and 2000 AD and “Oh my God – we hit a little girl”.

Magazines have given us thousands of heroes and villains and ‘drop my bacon sandwich’ moments. There’s no reason that’s going to stop now.

We’re not in the paper business, we’re in the story business.

Scott Rowley | Editorial Director, Classic Rock