Posted by Monica Worsley
Last Friday morning, high school students and their parents converged on Drake University for an admitted students day.
As I walked past a classroom full of attentive visitors, Professor David Wright praised the school’s student publications.
His accolades made me think.
Until this year, visitors could take print copies of the majority of Drake sponsored, student created magazines, to read at their leisure.
But the recent decision of the spring senior capstone to make Think magazine a digital edition means both capstone courses have diverged from the traditional ink and paper publication.
As a result, potential additions to the Drake SJMC will have one less magazine to take and page through on the car ride home.
Overall it could mean fewer readers of the 2013 edition of Think magazine.
Did the 2013 Think staff make a risky decision?
If current trend in industry-wide digital edition readership applies to their magazine, a switch to digital may prove worthwhile.
Digital edition readership is growing.
“The number of average digital magazine copies sold has more than doubled compared with the second half of 2011 when 245 magazines reported approximately 3.2 million average digital replica copies (less than 1 percent of the total industry average circulation),” according to the Alliance for Audited Media.
On the grand scheme digital editions make up a small portion of total industry circulation.
However, during the last six-months of 2012 digital readership had increased by 24 percent as print audiences continued to decline, according to the Adweek.
Until the 2013 Think magazine is published, we can only speculate if the Drake SJMC capstone students made a wise decision.
According to the executive producer of Think magazine, senior Kristen Smith, they are confident they did.
“Overall, digital is the way the publishing industry is going. We wanted to be able to learn from the experience, to fill our readers’ needs and to create a great publication,” said Smith.
They considered their audience, costs, and other aspects before settling on the digital edition.
“We decided our audience consists of ages 20s to low 30s, “young professionals,” and people who live and work in the Midwest. We thought that we could have the most reach using an all-digital approach. Through our website, social media and being in the iTunes store, there are so many possibilities in terms of who we can introduce our product to,” said Smith.
Think magazine staffers also tried to use their funding effectively.
“Going with a tablet edition is also cost-efficient, and it allowed us to use our budget to go toward really getting the most out of each story, especially when it comes to traveling around the Midwest to do research and reporting in-person,” said Smith.
“Yes, people love the way a magazine smells or feels in their hands, but with a digital edition, you can really tailor the user experience. You can have interactive features, such as videos and audio slideshows. You can engage them by having great long-form stories (people love to scroll, and often lose track of how much they’ve actually read when they’re just scrolling on a tablet versus flipping physical pages).”
You’ve heard what the Think staff thinks…
What do you predict to be the outcome of Think magazine as a digital edition? Do you think it will have a digital readership base and entice people to use their tablets for a quick read? Do you think the capstone class took a risk in making a digital edition this year? Do you have a tablet? And if not, how are you planning on reading Think this year?