Magazines Under Analysis
The recent history of the magazine business has been dominated by a series of supposedly timeless principles: that the brand must come first; that readers will stop reading unless they recognise themselves in every line they read; that magazines are really communities which happen to exist in print, online, or somewhere in between.
All the above have been accorded the status of incontrovertible truth. But far from being incontrovertible, each is a relatively recent inversion of another, earlier truth: that magazines live or die primarily by the quality of their journalism; that readers buy magazines in order to reach beyond themselves; that the plural world of magazines allows readers to escape the one-dimensional community which they happen to find themselves in.
Each set of incontrovertible truths is really an 180-degree turnaround from the one before. Such timeless truths can only be transient, one-sided and ultimately insufficient. Today’s intense pressures (digitisation, ongoing advertising recession) demand critical thinking and strategic responses, not thoughtless acceptance of eternal verities which turn out to have been turned out the day before yesterday.
Accordingly, MagLab offers analysis which cuts into the myths surrounding magazines, and dissects their reality. By putting magazines under analysis, MagLab aims not only to reveal the transient character of ‘incontrovertible’ truth, but also to capture the inner nature of magazines and identify the changing, external influences which have helped to formulate them again and again.
MagLab is open to magazine professionals and serious students of magazines. If you have interesting ideas about magazines and the magazine business, please email MagLab editor here