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Senior Editor

Pub Talk

By James Sturdivant

About James

 

Publishers' Dojo

Linda Ruth
Classic Print Business Models Influence Convergent Media: CNOW.tv Adopts a Magazine Subscription Model
Apr 18, 2014

Like everyone else in our business, I get drawn in to the ongoing conversation about this dying and that dying....



Publisher's Paradox

Andrew Davis
Publisher's Paradox: Leveraging Email to Inspire Action
Apr 7, 2014

Instead of sending your audience passive content, send your audience something they can take action on. If you read last...



Media Vent

Bob Sacks
It's Not All Good News for Magazine Publishers
Apr 1, 2014

Sometimes I just have to put the tequila aside and deliver a sobering report to the industry to offset some...



Industry Insiders

The Insiders
Publishers: Take a Lesson from the Louvre
Mar 21, 2014

Today, few premium publishers can compete with the rest of the Internet. But being the most trusted source of news and...



B2B Beat

Andy Kowl
What Bloggers Can Teach B2B
Jan 23, 2014

Blogs were pronounced dead in Fast Company in December of 2012 and in New Republic in April of 2013. And just before the New...



The Digital Market

Thea Selby
A Critique Of Yahoo's Digital Magazine Strategy
Jan 14, 2014

Small Business Trends writer Shawn Hessinger and I have a completely different view of the news that Yahoo was starting...



Profit from Publishing!

Thaddeus B. Kubis
Media Conference Exhibitors Should Go Deeper to Engage
Oct 9, 2013

It has been a few weeks since I attended (as the guest of the event organizer) the Publishing Business Conference...



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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