I can still remember how much I loved glossy magazines with captivating pictures since I was a child. Our school subscribed to TIME, Newsweek and National Geographic, which we consulted regularly for assignments and projects, and my mom bought Woman’s Own. As a teenager, I bought Seventeen magazine and Tiger Beat, and my friends and I often lent each other magazines. As a young woman, I read Cosmopolitan. I looked forward to smelling the new perfumes; getting new recipes, tips on dating, fashion, and skin care; magazines engaged all my senses save sound. In 2010, the number of magazines available to readers exceeded 19,000 and fall into 3 broad types: trade, professional and business; industrial, company and sponsored magazines and consumer magazines (Baran, 2010, p. 125).
There is a magazine for everyone – celebrity and entertainment magazines, home and garden, men’s women’s – youth, sports, and while, magazine sales may have declined, e-magazines are certainly on the rise. Time Inc. CEO, Joe Ripp, observes that while magazines are displayed less on stands and people are more engaged with their smartphones and tablets, “They aren’t reading less of our content, however. They are just consuming it in different places” (Trachtenberg, 2015). Magazine sales in Trinidad and Tobago have certainly declined as many people have skyboxes and subscribe through Amazon. I am a big fan of Oprah Winfrey and by extension O Magazine, which I subscribe to and read on my iPad and Kindle because it is much more cost effective for me at $20 US a year. “Most magazines now produce online editions that offer special interactive features [like video] not available to their hard-copy readers” (Baran, 2010, p. 130). “They are the medium that first made specialization a virtue, and they prosper today by speaking to even more narrowly defined groups of readers” (Baran, 2010, p. 117).
Due to convergence with the internet, magazines, radio, television and newspapers fulfil the demand of audiences to meet them where they are. People no longer go in search of news, information and entertainment; it comes to them thanks to mobile technology and social media. Today mass media competes with social media, especially Facebook and Twitter, to get their messages heard. Consequently, media CEOs like Joe Ripp are concerned with “growing [their] digital properties and digital operations” (Trachtenberg, 2015).
Baran, S. (2010). Mass Communication: Media literacy and culture (6th Ed.) New York, New York: McGraw Hill
Trachtenberg, J. (2015, February, 22). Is People Magazine Relevant in a Digital Age? Retrieved from http://www.wsj.com/articles/is-people-magazine-relevant-in-a-digital-age-1424664618