We’re well aware of the print media decline, yet with our penchant for artisanal craft, might magazines make a come back?
The Print Journalism Decline
The decline of print journalism and its readership has seen many titles lost from our shelves. Our digital consumption of information ‘sound bites,’ via news aggregator apps, acts as both cause and effect in this regard.
However with the resurgence of vinyl, typewriters, film and hand-craft, we wonder if there’s room for print journalism to make a come back?
UK national newspaper sales have fallen by nearly two-thirds over the last two decades, according to analysis of ABC circulation data by Press Gazette.
Print Journalism Vs. Online Journalism
Not that long ago a new print publication made its way around the hyggeligt Highlands of Scotland. It’s crisp pages populated with rich and decadent photojournalism.
It’s minimal layout shelving single sentences of engaging copy. Local stories told with the sentimentality of an old friend and the warmth of a malt, sipped by a roaring hearth.
“There’s been a huge flourishing of new titles in Scotland, which I think is in direct response to a traditionally stale, standard media landscape. I don’t see a title on the newsstand which is doing what The Grapevine is doing, but I hope that changes. A rising tide lifts all boats, and we need more quality publishing in Scotland.” Alexander Macleod, Editor, The Grapevine (via Future Positive)
This publication embodied the spirit of its locality from cover to cover. It was a delight to consume and captured the essence of home in a way that you just can’t achieve on screen. However sadly, like the fate befallen many a tragic beauty, it’s no longer in production.
Do Millennials Read Magazines?
I’m a millennial. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve read a physical newspaper. Or any form of newspaper for that matter. The content I engage with used to come from social media, but in support of slow content, even this has changed. And as such, I can’t help but wonder – am I alone in this?
Despite the technological revolution, not everyone is reading solely on screens. Surprisingly, some people (myself included) still far prefer to leaf through print, page by page. In fact for many, this option proves an inviting distraction from the all-consuming and overwhelming digital age.
She Is Fierce and it’s submissions (of which there are many artistic forms) are taken largely from its readership. It’s distribution comes from a limited run, instilling a sense of exclusivity and community in its readers. It is a niche publication and another triumph in crowd-sourced production, thriving in this artisan realm of print media.
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Making Magazines An Experience
Like the uplifting features of The Grapevine, and the captivating movement offered by She Is Fierce, we need our print media to take us somewhere. From paper stock to copy font, for magazines to be fit for millennials, they need to be experiential. We know that consumers, now more than ever, prioritise expenditure on experiences.
From the established Wallpaper to the up and coming Vanguard and Hot Rum Cow, this concept isn’t new. Good literature has been doing it for centuries. Perhaps now is the time that print journalism ups its game and takes us on a journey. Ideally, far away from the tired, tried and tested, formats of the past.
“For a long time we were trying to identify our opportunity within the niche creative independent magazine market – although it is something we are realistically still working on – we strive for our features to be well rounded for our readers, and perhaps offer some meaning, instead of just offering well curated aesthetic photographs.” James Roberts and Hugo Ross, Founders, Vanguards (via Future Positive)
But surely if it was that simple, everyone would be doing it? In theory, offering an experiential publication should be enough. Where technology again hits journalism hard is not only in the form of its consumption, but the cost.
One business that has carved its own niche in ‘experiential magazines’ is Stack – a monthly subscription service that curates indie magazines and posts them to its subscribers once a month. This method ensures a loyal, paying readership and keeps them guessing with a different magazine each month.
Paying For Content
Everyday sound bites surround us online, for free. So encouraging readers to pay for their content is increasingly difficult. Though the value of the industry hasn’t changed, what has changed is people’s willingness to pay for it.
As consumers, we need to understand that without ‘voting with our wallets,’ the publications we love or long for will never survive. Yet whether we will remains to be seen.
We’ve talked at length about the need for responsibility on the marketer’s part, yet what we often overlook is the responsibility of the consumer. There is perhaps a need to more obviously respect the time and talents of others. In our fast-paced and high-waste society, this can be easy to forget.
By letting readers know the importance of their support, people are more likely to buy into the community that some publications cultivate so readily. Maybe it is this united spirit that will save our magazines, and ultimately, keep them on our shelves.
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If you’d like to breathe new life into your publication or take a creative approach to your company newsletter, please get in touch with The William Agency. We are specialists in contract publishing and magazine production and we can bring your ideas to life, no matter how big or how small.