Are Magazines On the Verge of Extinction?

By Sarah Mattes

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Photo by Ben McLeod via Flickr

I don’t know about you but when I talk about my magazine journalism major all my friends and family say, “Well good luck trying to find a job!” or “Will magazines even be around when you graduate?”  They see the field of magazines not being around in the next coming years.  Who can blame them, everything they read or see in the news says so, but what is the truth?

As of September 11, another large magazine closed up shop after 25 years in the industry.  “Food Arts” announced its closure over its FaceBook page.  They are among many others who closed their doors this year including Ladies Home Journal.  It is sad and very nerve-wracking for a lot of us magazine majors, but does this mean the industry as a whole is dying?

Today’s magazine world consists of print, apps, Tablet versions, blogs, websites all in the hopes of drawing more people in and then keeping them in.  With all of these different formats now available for people the print version is suffering.  Many magazines have even gone solely electronic, they cancelled their print version but are keeping their electronic products going.  Do you think this is where the future of magazines is headed, to a solely electronic based product?

Personally, I believe that the print magazine will never die.  As much as technology has evolved there will always be a niche of people that prefer the print version, especially me  And isn’t that what magazines are all about, catering to different niches.

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10 responses to “Are Magazines On the Verge of Extinction?

  1. It’s always interesting to hear people’s reactions when you mention getting a degree in journalism. A lot of them believe it’s a dying field or one that’s not particularly trustworthy anymore. However, I agree with you that magazines aren’t going extinct anytime soon. As technology and social norms change, the world of journalism has to change too, hence all the online media sources that you mentioned in your post. Nonetheless, I think print versions will continue to have their own place in the journalism world.

  2. I’m optimistic about the future of print media, too. A few years ago I would have said electronic products were the future of the industry, but I don’t think they’ll overtake print mags anytime soon. Tablet issues are a great supplement to print and a lot of people love having their subscriptions delivered to an iPad instead of their mailboxes, but people still overwhelmingly prefer the tactile experience of print. I’ve read a lot of great magazines on tablet and the additional interactive features like video, audio and web links are really awesome, but I still can’t make the switch and I always resubscribe to my favorite magazines in print.

  3. I would agree with all of the above. I think that technology will keep magazines alive for much longer than non-journalists believe. Although it’s personal preference whether or not you want to have a tangible magazine in your hands, or prefer to have the option of interacting via a tablet, computer or smartphone, the future of magazines looks ever-changing but bright.

  4. When I tell people I’m a magazine journalism major, I’m always asked why I decided to go into a “dying industry.” My response is always that journalism isn’t dying–it’s changing. I believe there will always be a demand for magazines. Many publications are so niche-based that there’s nowhere else readers can go for information. However, it’s the responsibility of the magazine staff to keep up with changing technology and audience tastes. For example, I work for Allrecipes magazine, which is partnered with the food website allrecipes.com. I think one of the reasons why the print magazine is so successful is because it complements the website, providing information web readers can’t get or don’t have time to find online.

  5. I’m not a magazine major, but when I inform my relatives that I am getting a major in News/Internet in journalism, I tend to get the same responses. However, in my opinion journalism isn’t dying, it’s just simply evolving. I also agree with you that magazine’s in print won’t die out. When I read a magazine, I want to read the physical copy of it, I don’t want to read it online. I can read news articles online, and things like that. But for some reason when it comes to magazines I have to have the physical copy in front of me.

  6. I think that the best part of being a journalism major, and going into the journalism field is adaptable it is to change. I feel like the magazine world is only going to get better over time, with the changing electronic world. imagine what we could do with a magazine online, there could be interactive parts that readers could experience. I dont think the field will ever die. There is too much room to grow! I am a huge fan of print magazines, but i think that an electronic form will be really cool and interesting as well.

  7. I completely agree with you. I think that the electronic side of magazines will continue to grow, but for me, there is nothing like having a glossy, print magazine in your hands to flip through. I find myself not concerned with being about to find a job, but with the fact that I may end up in a career where I won’t ever get to hold a print article with my name in the by line. However I think there will always be a print presence somewhere and that gives me hope!

  8. This is something that I think a lot of us have thought and worried about, and hearing that not only did a well-established magazine recently close, but they announced their closure over social media, doesn’t sound too promising to me. Unfortunately, I agree that electronic media is on the rise, and I personally believe that there may be a day, not necessarily in the near future, that print magazines and newspapers alike will switch to electronic versions. I don’t think that magazines will ever really die though, because whatever medium they’re on, you can’t beat the glossy pictures and information that targets the niches television just can’t reach.

  9. I think, eventually- not for a while, but probably in our lifetime- print magazines will eventually “die out.” That’s not to say they won’t still exist- we’ll still see them in the futuristic check-out lines of our futuristic grocery stores- but so, so many people will have shifted to reading the electronic form, which will be much more accessible (perhaps ubiquitous is the word?) that there’s simply no reason to purchase and read a print version. It’s kind of like ebooks (I hate ebooks so much), except I think that ebooks may actually take longer to vanquish their print counterparts. (I could discuss this for hours…). Anyway, my point is, magazine content is certainly going to still exist, but it’s eventually going to become all-electronic.

  10. I completely agree when you say you don’t think print magazines will die out anytime soon. I am sure I’m not the only one who likes to hold a physical copy of my magazines. I like clipping out my favorite articles and other tidbits that stand out to me. I think online content is becoming much more important because of the time people spend on social media, but I’m not worried that we’ll see a day when print is gone, at least anytime soon. It’s interesting to see how long it’ll last, and maybe we’ll be one of the last generations to have the print content. I think the magazines will always remain because audiences still crave the material, but the medium it is presented on will continue to change as we develop newer and newer technology.

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