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Tim Holmes

Tim Holmes

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Latest posts

Why our preference for print is misleading

I love print on paper. Most people who read magazines love print on paper, perhaps because it is so very convenient, perhaps because they like the look of type and the feel of the stock. That's why we say we "prefer" to read on paper when someone asks us. But as Dr Joe Webb reminds us, preference surveys " track the way people believe they used to do things, not new behavior, nor does it indicate future behavior." This quote comes in a longer piece that ties together the cost of using the US Postal Service with Mary Meeker's annual survey of media, technology, the economy and more. Dr Webb was prompted to write it because the president of the Magazine Publishers of America (MPA, the US equivalent of the UK's PPA ) called into question Meeker's motivation and impartiality. It's a longish read with a specific US context but worth looking at for the more universal points he makes. Like this further thought on preference surveys, for example

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A classic of magazine craft on screen

A classic of magazine craft on screen

Paper magazine's collaboration with Posture is a classic of magazine craft. It comes in digital form but draws on very traditional tropes and techniques – 1) It combines great photography with pithy copy in the form of first person interviews; 2) The interviews are short but revealing and thought provoking (and either the interviewees are very articulate or there has been some first class subbing); 3) The topic is niche, in the sense that it concerns a subculture (or set of subcultures), but socially important. That importance is likely to increase, not least at the influential margins of politics: as the New Yorker 's serio -comic explanation of the recent UK general election result (written in the ever-popular quasi-biblical style) noted And the young people said, Jeremy shall bring peace unto all nations, for he hateth the engines of war that take wing across the heavens. And he showeth respect for all peoples, even unto the transgender community. And th

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Magazines, solitude and the appreciation of craft

Magazines, solitude and the appreciation of craft

If you have a few minutes to spare – well, plenty of minutes actually – this piece by Andrew Sullivan is an excellent read. His theme is how smartphones rob us of the space to appreciate silence and practise contemplation but along the way he also observes: The writer Matthew Crawford has examined how automation and online living have sharply eroded the number of people physically making things, using their own hands and eyes and bodies to craft, say, a wooden chair or a piece of clothing or, in one of Crawford’s more engrossing case studies, a pipe organ. We became who we are as a species by mastering tools, making them a living, evolving extension of our whole bodies and minds. What first seems tedious and repetitive develops into a skill — and a skill is what gives us humans self-esteem and mutual respect. This made me think of why magazines like Ernest Journal   and Hole & Corner   achieve the appreciation and success they do. Their raison d'être is

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Magazines and media history

Magazines and media history

Marcus Morris founded The Eagle comic, still remembered for Dan Dare and cutaway illustrations of exciting mechanical artefacts like racing cars and jet aircraft. He followed this with Girl , Robin and Swift ; he became the managing director of the National Magazine company, introducing Cosmopolitan to the UK; the British magazine industry's most prestigious annual award is named in his honour – and Cardiff University has his personal archive! I have worked at the university for 20-odd years and I had no idea this material was in our collections until last night, at the launch of the Tom Hopkinson Centre for Media History  when head of the Special Collections & Archive section Alan Vaughan-Hughes revealed the riches available to researchers in the field of popular journalism. Apart from Morris – a treasure trove for researchers and scholars in the field of Magazine Studies – Cardiff holds the archives of: • Hugh Cudlipp – editor of the Mirror , chairman of IPC (

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Reasons why everything has gone horribly wrong except for those who think it has gone beautifully right

There are so many competing ideas about what is happening in the political sphere and how the media are, or aren't, dealing with it that it's all too easy to become confused. Here, for your convenience, is a selection of 14 themes. The examples have not been picked on any rational basis and I do not claim they are the only or best of their type. Nor is this list comprehensive – it's just a starting point. They all refer to the American election but can be taken to represent Brexit too. Which of these ideas matter? Which will endure? What can we do about any of them? 1) Framing https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/nov/13/make-america-great-again-why-are-liberals-losing-the-war-of-soundbites?CMP=fb_gu 2) Emotion http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/polis/2016/11/13/what-does-the-trump-triumph-mean-for-journalism-politics-and-social-media/ 3) Journalists didn't listen http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2016/10/15/13286498/donald-trump-voters-race-economic-anxiety

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Newspaper people *still* don't get magazines

Newspaper people *still* don't get magazines

In Roy Greenslade's piece about the closure of 24 , the "national newspaper for the north", after just five weeks, one of the reasons for failure he suggests is " although more professional in its appearance than  The New Day  and with more up-to-date news, it still looked more like a magazine than a newspaper."   He then remarks on the continuing success of The New European , a print publication launched to capture the interest of the 48% of the UK population who wanted to remain in the EU. This is yet another example of how newspaper people *still* don't get what is different about magazines. Neither 24 nor The New Day were like magazines – they were the opposite of magazines. Just because a newspaper journalist thinks they "look" like magazines and the fact they were full of gossamer-thin stories about nothing in particular does not make them remotely like magazines. Magazines are aimed at a very specific readership, which is why

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Targeting magazine content via social media

It is a given of magazine publishing that content must be aimed at a specific readership. This enduring truth has resulted in a healthy spread of titles that cater for everyone from aspiring bass guitar players to the chief financial officers of global corporations. Everyone subscribes to this fundamental principle, including me . But what if, in an age of multiple platforms and fragmented social media, it's not true any more? I spent an interesting afternoon listening to students on the MA International Journalism at Cardiff University presenting their ideas for new, pure-digital, magazine concepts. One called Planet Reboot was so full of energy and ideas that it leapt out of the screen – a bit messy, slightly hard work to navigate but fizzing with life and interest and contrasting story formats. I loved the concept but my conventional magazine self found fault with the targeting – looking at the website, it was not clear whose interest this electric, ecletic content was

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