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Magazines. Characteristics of early magazines. Magazines filled gap btwn books/ newspapers Mix of entertainment, culture, and commentary Middle ground – many books and newspapers reached political and philosophical extremes prior to 20 th c.

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  1. Magazines

  2. Characteristics of early magazines • Magazines filled gap btwn books/ newspapers • Mix of entertainment, culture, and commentary • Middle ground – many books and newspapers reached political and philosophical extremes prior to 20th c. • Appealed to specific groups – advertising/ content geared to certain demographics (farmers, women, professionals)

  3. 1st publications classified as magazines • “The Tatler” • “The Spectator” • Both published in England early 18th c.

  4. 1st U.S. magazines • Philadelphia 1741 • Published by Benjamin Franklin and his rival, Andrew Bradford

  5. Early magazines • “The Port Folio” 1815 • “The North American Review” 1815 • “The Saturday Evening Post” 1821

  6. “Godey’s Lady’s Book” • 1830 • 1st magazine to cater specifically to women • 1st medium to identify an audience of its own

  7. Other 19th c. magazines • “Harper’s New Monthly Magazine” • “Atlantic Monthly” • “Gleason’s Pictorial” • “Harper’s Weekly”

  8. “The Nation” • Est. at the close of the Civil War in 1865 • Became preeminent as a journal of opinion

  9. The Golden Age 1865-1900 • Transcontinental RR opened channels of distribution • 1879 Postal Act classified magazines within 2nd class, cheaper distribution rate • Pulp paper made from cheaper wood • Improvements in printing presses • Invention of linotype (automatic typesetting) machine • Photographic reproduction techniques

  10. 1865-1885 # of magazines increases significantly • Industry “giants”: • “Harper’s” • “Scribner’s Monthly” • “The Century”

  11. Frank A. Munsey • Achieved vast circulation increases by imitating techniques used by penny newspapers in the 1830’s (shifting expenses to advertisers) • Reduced annual subscription price of “Munsey’s Magazine” from $3 to $1, and dropped price of single issue from $.25 to $.10

  12. Other magazines followed Munsey’s lead • “Ladies’ Home Journal”, “McCall’s”, “Cosmopolitan”, “Collier’s: • Shifted expenses to advertisers • Joined competition for national advertisers

  13. Characteristics of modern magazines • Low cost • Large circulation • Support from advertisers • Service to diverse audiences

  14. Magazines’ impact on culture • Instrument of social reform • Became known as“people’s champions” by investigating and exposing corruption and injustices in political, social, and business arenas • Criticized by some for focusing on negative elements of society

  15. Muckrakers -- journalists who attacked and sought changes from oil companies, meat-packing firms, medicine manufacturers, city govt.’s, labor organizations, U.S. Senate -- changes in business community were sparked; led to social reform

  16. End of muckraking era • Brought on by U.S. entrance in WWI • Magazines joined newspapers in promoting war effort with propaganda • U.S. concern with war abroad eclipsed domestic problems

  17. 1930’s to 1950’s • Magazines became more attractive to audiences • Improvements in production processes • Bolder graphics • Higher quality paper • Emphasis on photojournalism

  18. Magazine “giants” • “Reader’s Digest” • “Time” • “The New Yorker” • “The American Mercury” • “The Saturday Review of Literature”

  19. Prominent business magazines • “Fortune” • “Business Week” • Founded in 1929 • Both survived Great Depression and flourished

  20. Magazine characteristics made famous during this period • Cover girl • Color photos of suggestive models • Competitive edge – bait for both male and female readers (men wanted them, women wanted to be them) • “Life” • “Look” • “Esquire” – 1st of the “slick” mens’s magazines

  21. Television’s impact on magazines • 1956, magazines began to go under due to lack of advertisers • Costs of TV advertising comparable to magazine advertising; TV audience much larger • TV offered dynamic ad presentations • Action, sound, and color (by 1960’s)

  22. Subscription war • Early 1950’s to 1960’s • Added to economic strain from advertising losses • Magazines made an effort to reduce circulation in order to save money

  23. Regional editions • “The Wall Street Journal” • Began publishing in 4 regions as well as nationally • Editorial content identical but advertising varied by region • Advertisers able to reach particular regions at lower cost

  24. Success of regional editions • Regional editions proved to be highly successful for specifically oriented journals “Time”, “Newsweek”) • Regional editions permitted advertisers and manufacturers to reach customers whose interest in news/ world affairs indicated high education level/ affluence (valuable to advertisers) • Product differentiation ingenious dvlpmt in advertising – could be done in magazines but not on TV

  25. Most significant change in magazine industry • Due to competition from TV • Shift from national magazines of general interest (“Life”, “Look”) to more specialized publications • Most magazines today appeal to specific audiences in specific locales

  26. The editorial task • From a production standpoint, magazines fall in between books and newspapers • Each issue prepared 4-6 months in advance of publication • Some articles written by staff, others contracted – balance of 2 techniques w/ edge toward staff writing b/c it is more reliable and cheaper

  27. The editorial task, cont’d • Magazine editors try to maintain a consistent tone – a proven format of material that will appeal to the magazine’s specific readership

  28. Gatekeeping function • Editor decides what gets printed • Dictated by rigid requirements of specific audience

  29. Types of magazines • Entertainment/ escape • “Cosmopolitan” • “Esquire” • News/ information • “Time” • “Newsweek” • “U.S. News and World Report” • Advocacy/ opinion • Underground press • Organizational/ corporate press • Watchdog publications (i.e. “The Progressive”)

  30. Top money makers • “Reader’s Digest” • “National Geographic” • “Time” • “People”

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