Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The long death of paper

The teen magazine sector shrinks again with CosmoGirl!'s closure, reported in Press Gazette and commented on in the Magforum Byte-ing into magazines blog.

Its digital avatar, jellyfish, will live on but aimed at an older audience. And magazine guru David Hepworth says, in his MediaGuardian column, that Big Mag publishers have not yet "got" how to use online (as I myself noted in a chapter of the latest edition of The Magazines Handbook, he modestly claims).

The shift away from teen mags and from print itself raises some interesting questions, which are touched on in the Mag Forum blog above. The biggest one is, at what point do young people make the switch? My nearly seven-year-old son has spent the last year or two choosing his comics almost entirely by cover mount. He liked Thomas and Bob The Builder but if something else had a better gift, that was what he wanted. More recently he shows signs of becoming more discriminating, with a marked preference for Dr Who Adventures and (I am sorry to say) Toxic.

Even choosing by gift, though, he is really into reading – good old print on paper. As is our friends' seven-year-old daughter, who is almost immune to the charms of covermounts. At some point in the future I guess that print on paper will fade in favour of pixels on screen, but when? Has anyone done any research on this yet?

Friday, June 08, 2007

New Sindy: An Opportunity Missed

Whatever I was hoping for from the new look Independent on Sunday, it didn't deliver in spades.

Like its daily companion it is (at least) a beat behind every other paper in delivering the news and creating so-called supernibs of old news doesn't make them any more up to date.

Some bloggers and commentators have said it is now a magazine. By this they seem to mean it is full of fluffy features and self-indulgent columns, but that's not a magazine, that's just bad journalism whatever the platform or genre.

Had the proprietors and editor been really courageous and made it been more like The Week or Time or Picture Post (and after all the early Independent used photographs very well), adding some incisive reporting and analysis into the mix, it could have been something really new.

An opportunity missed.

Andrew Neil
Roy Greenslade
Peter Preston
Sindy readers

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