I’ve ummed and ahhed over whether to set this post live or not over the last few days as right now it seems like old news but then that seemed like the crux of the issue at hand. In today’s ‘digital age’ you blink & you miss it and I guess that’s potentially the problem with print media- it can’t keep up with the digital age and the news cycle is over before you even know it. Then again, I surely fit into the digital category and here I am talking about old news too…
When I heard the news last Friday (which is now actually two Fridays ago due to my failure to bite the bullet and hit publish) I had literally just bought the latest copy of Glamour, which was entirely made by women, and immediately felt like I needed to talk about it with everyone I knew. In my life the news held as much significance as the birth of a royal baby does, and the fact it was only news worthy for one day didn’t seem enough for me.
That said, even though I bought the last issue ten days ago now I have yet to look inside the cover and I think this is ultimately the problem with print. It’s not that it’s outdated in itself; rather that it isn’t quite so compatible with our everyday lives. It’s contents might be pushing boundaries and covering new ground but the fact that we can buy it and leave it on the side for weeks before reading its pages is a telling tale. When I was at school, and bought each issue without fail, I could sit down and read a magazine cover to cover but this isn’t such an easy feat today- with our phones and lives in general providing constant distractions.
A magazine doesn’t fit into my everyday bag like a book might and it’s lack of rigidity means it gets dog eared, ripped and thus ruined very quickly. Magazines aren’t portable, especially not in the sense that websites are.
Not only are websites much easier to access wherever, whenever, they’re easily searchable and sharable, so when we want to share an article with our friends we can send them the link, rather than rip out the page, not only making them more accessible but also increasing their longevity. When we know we read something but can’t remember where we can do a quick search and have the answer at our fingertips. Where magazines may run similar features every few months- the best red lipsticks/how to get a good night’s sleep/where to buy the perfect white t-shirt- an online outlets can just re-share an old story with the same relevance and a lot less time and effort, adding updates to the original text when necessary. Plus, websites can contain links to products, immediately tracking the impact of their articles as well as lining their pockets- through affiliate links.
But does the falling number in magazine readers mean the end of long-form features and articles? Online content tends to be much much shorter, something we can start and finish in a matter of minutes while we wait for the bus rather than labour over the text with a cup of tea in hand. Or will we see bloggers, online journalists and content creators start to write more hefty pieces in order to bridge the gap? After all, the average length of the YouTube videos in my subscription box has more than doubled over the last couple of years and it would be lying to say that the editorial style of many blog photographs today was not influenced by similar images in magazines, especially ad content.
However, rather than deter me from purchasing magazines, the rise of social media- namely Instagram- has encouraged me to buy them more often. Religiously following the likes of Alessandra Steinherr, Jo Elvin, Sophie Beresiner, Joely Walker, Sarah Jossel and Nadine Baggot, to name a few, has definitely piqued my interest more in what they’re publishing and encouraged me to buy their respective publications.
I imagine I fit the target audience of the new look Glamour down to a T, with an undeniable interest in beauty and a sizable online footprint- reading multiple blog posts and online articles a day, most beauty related but also many on fashion, lifestyle and current affairs, but I am truly gutted to be losing my cherished magazine. Will I buy the biannual beauty journal? Probably, but with out Jo at the helm I’m not sure it will have the same panache so we will have to see.
I sincerely hope that re-formatting of Glamour does not signal the beginning of the end when it comes to women’s print media, although as Glamour was the only magazine I ever really bought and holds one of the largest circulations amongst women’s magazines to this day, it would be naive to think this is a flash in the pan decision rather than a telling tale about the climate surrounding print media.
What’re your thoughts on the re-formatting? Do you regularly buy magazines or do you prefer online content? I’d love to know if you’re excited for the new phase in the life of Glamour or are mourning the loss? Please say I’m not alone hogging the middle ground?