There’s Always a Silver Lining

A magazine art director friend of mine recently posted on his Facebook profile a great article by Gabriel Sherman. Sherman is a contributing editor at New York magazine and a special correspondent to the New Republic, and in Slate‘s The Big Money he writes how this may be a tough time for magazines, but that it is also an opportunity to take a step back and look at what is really important. His spot-on analysis of the issues involved in the print publications crisis includes these two remarkable sentences, with which I totally agree.

It’s not that magazines are dying; it’s that magazines that were created solely for advertising or market-share purposes are. New magazine titles often fail from a combination of bad timing, bad thinking, and a bad choice of brands to extend. Put simply, there are too many mediocre magazines (as anyone who gazes at the newsstand at Barnes and Nobles would conclude).

In this new media age, people talk about the importance of transforming readers into “communities.” Magazines have never had a community problem. Great magazines have built enduring relationships with their readers that Facebook and Tumblr still aspire to. But in a race to grow their businesses, publishers put advertising first and editorial excellence second.

This post was part of a series published on for Liz Danzico and Khoi Vihn’s segment of the Print Meets the Web course.

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