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Senior Editor

Pub Talk

By James Sturdivant

About James

 

Media Vent

Bob Sacks
On PRIMEX, And the Important Nuts And Bolts of the Magazine Industry
Mar 13, 2015

There is an unsung part of the magazine media industry that many of us rarely think or hear about, and...



Industry Insiders

The Insiders
Issuu’s Scott Kinzie on How Publishers Can Take Advantage of Larger Mobile Screens
Mar 12, 2015

Technology always seemed to be squeezing more product into less space. Until last year, with the rollout of bigger screens...



The Digital Market

Thea Selby
Top 5 Trends Affecting App Publishing
Mar 9, 2015

This is a great time of the year to look at the top trends of 2014 and gain insights for...



B2B Beat

Andy Kowl
Earned Media vs. Native Advertising: Smart Publishers Find a Path for Advertiser Content
Mar 3, 2015

An insidious term has started to be widely used these past couple of years. As publishers, we must stamp out...



Publishers' Dojo

Linda Ruth
How to Look at Your 2014 Sales
Feb 23, 2015

So far I have spent 2015 deep in analyses of publishers' sales in 2014 and before. That probably puts me...



Publisher's Paradox

Andrew Davis
Publisher’s Paradox: Your Newsletter Subscribers Are Being Overfed
Apr 28, 2014

Charlie Magazine, based in Charleston, South Carolina, isn't asking its readers to subscribe to everything. Instead, Charlie is inviting readers...



Magazines' Fragmentation Problem

 

The website coverjunkie has posted a couple of vintage magazine covers in honor of the late, great Larry Hagman. There's Time magazine's WHODUNIT? from August 1980, as the nation held its breath wondering who shot J.R. A New York magazine cover shows a young, not-too-far-removed-from-Major-Tony-Nelson Hagman sporting a Santa cap with the line "Merry Christmas—Or Else."

Who shot J.R.? I don't remember, but the question reminds us of the hold a few media outlets could have over the zeitgeist in the pre-Internet days. It was an atmosphere good for consumer magazines, which were adept at capturing the prevailing mood or conversation and representing it on covers inevitably seen by everyone, everywhere.

People managing editor Larry Hackett laments about the new reality today in AdWeek: "It’s not like it was 20 years ago where everybody saw the same movies and the television audience was five times as high for the top shows.” He was talking about the difficulty publishers have predicting which celebrities will sell covers. While "the story may have been reduced among big movie or TV stars," Hackett said, reality stars do well because they have "narratives."

In a fragmented media landscape, people seem drawn to reality-ish celebrity drama, rather than soap operas of the fictional sort. We don't rally around characters and mythologies the way we used to. While I can imagine a Time cover featuring a stylized picture of Hugh Laurie leaning on a cane, and the tagline "Dr. House—And the Real Life Drama of Medical Mysteries," I don't expect to see it anytime soon. Time's latest cover features a bunch of legumes and vegetables. The one before that? David Petraeus, of course.  

 

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