MAGAZINESMagazines have developed historically to occupy a middle position between the time-consuming and self-selective book and the hurried, geographically circumscribed newspaper. All magazines share two characteristics, they are published regularly, and each appeals to some specific segment of society.
First Magazine :
The first magazines were the ‘Tattler' and the ‘Spectator’, published in England in the first quarter of the eighteenth century. The last third of the century is known as the Golden Age of magazines. The industry flourished because of technological developments, the existence of the transcontinental railroad, and the Postal Act which created less expensive second-class mail. Muckrakers characterized the early part of this
century, but their influence waned after the failure of Theodore Rossevelt’s third party candidacy in 1912. By the 19505, television began to usurp the national audience, and several general-interest magazines eventually ceased publication after costly circulation wars. The advertising had gone to television.
Categorizing Magazines :
There are several ways to categorize magazines. One way is to categorize them functionally, for example, as entertainment! escape, news/information, or advocacy/opinion. We can also consider the relation between content and audience. Most magazines today are narrow in subject and narrow in audience. ‘TV Guide, ' however, is narrow in subject but broad in audience. There are also news magazines and city or regional magazines. Some magazines carry no advertisements and others, called controlled circulation, are given away free. Finally, there are the business press and company magazines, which represent a burgeoning area of magazine publishing.
Magazines Ownership :
Most of the magazines are owned by multi-magazine groups. Some magazines rely on staff writers for material while others buy the work of free-lancers, many use a mix of two sources for their articles.
Advertising is crucial to magazines. Reader surveys help to determine the pass-along readership, which is a measure of exposure for advertisers. In some cases, the advertising may be more important than the context to the reader, as is often the case with glossy fashion magazines. In recent years, subscription lists have provided advertisers with an additional channel to markets and have provided editorial revenue to their
owners; magazines may use these lists to sell their own products or they may rent them to organizations and manufacturers.
Today technology has made it possible for readers to select only that material they want to see. This is of concern for media producers who fear that it may isolate people, leading to lack of sense of community
The Role of Magazines(i) To Inform :
Like most other media, magazines seek to inform, persuade and entertain their audiences and put before them advertising messages of national, regional, state and city scope. Magazines never appear more frequently than once a week. Thus their writers and editors, although generally part of small staffs that must meet deadlines the same as other media personal, often have more time to dig into issues and situations than do those on daily newspapers. Consequently, they have a better opportunity to bring events into focus and interpret their meaning. Says Katherine Graham, Chairman of the Board of the Washington Post Company, which publishes Newsweek magazine.
(ii) Medium of Some Serious Treatments :
Magazines are in many ways the ideal medium for serious treatment of the major issues of our daily life. However, much the industry feels squeezed by soaring costs, the magazine still have certain luxuries. More lead time and perspective than the daily press, more permanence than broadcasting, more immediacy and wider readership than most books. It is no accident that long takeouts on major subjects in the daily press are called magazine pieces. It is no accident that some broadcasters describe some public affairs programmes as magazines of the air. Nor is it accidental that people are more and more depending on news magazines to give shape and substance to a week’s worth of headlines.
(iii) Magazines as Channel of Communication :
Magazines are a channel of communication halfway between newspapers and books. Unlike newspapers or books, however. many of the most influential magazines are difficult or impossible to purchase. With their colour printing and slick paper (in most cases), magazines have become a Showplace for exciting graphics. Until the 1940s, most consumer (general) magazines offered a diverse menu of both fiction and nonfiction
articles and miscellany such as poetry and short humour selections. With television providing a heavy quotient of entertainment for the home, many magazines discovered a strong demand for notification articles, their almost exclusive content.
Basic Difference Between Newspapers and MagazinesThere is another basic difference between newspapers and magazines. Except for the Wall Street Journal and the zoned editions of some metropolitan newspapers that reach specific neighborhoods, a newspaper must appeal to an entire community and have a little of everything for almost everybody. Yet hundreds of successful magazines are designed for reading by such interest groups as computer operators, dentists, poultry farmers and model railroad fans. Therein lies the richness of diversity that makes the magazine field so attractive to many editorial workers and to advertisers. The possibilities of advancement for a writer or editor who acquires specialized knowledge are greater than on most newspapers, although the number of editorial jobs on magazines is fewer.
Types of Magazines :
Although all magazines share certain basic problems of production and distribution, their editorial content and advertising are of many hues. Even trying to group them into categories becomes difficult because inevitably there is overlapping, and a few magazines almost defy classification. Most magazines fall into the following
general categories :
1. General family interest magazines
2. Sophisticated writing quality magazines
3. News magazines
4. Quality magazines
5. Opinion magazines
6. Women’s interest magazines
7. Men’s interest magazines
8. Special interest magazines
9. Friday and Sunday supplement magazines
10. Retail store magazines and supplements
11. The business press
12. Company publications
13. Desktop publishing
14. Children’s magazines