Many of you would know that Media Queen revolves around the magazine industry in Australia, beginning in the late 90s and into the 2000s.
It’s an industry I’ve been following for years and it was no joy to read of the end of many magazines, with Bauer Media closing down Elle, InStyle, Women’s Health, Men’s Health and more.
In one chapter of Media Queen, main character Jordyn Fairweather recalls a television appearance on the show of one of her closest friends, Parker. She had left the print magazine industry behind to set up her own blog.
Here’s the snippet:
‘Glossy magazines are dead,’ Jordyn had declared during the interview.
‘Woah, tell us what you really think!’ Parker laughed.
‘It’s true, and it doesn’t give me any joy to say that – but anyone with the ability to read a graph can see that printed glossies are losing readers every month. It’s a steady decline, and soon it will be a nosedive!’
‘Why do you think that’s happening?’
‘Tastes are changing. People love the internet, and they appreciate how it can quickly update people – like television.’ She and Parker beamed at each other. ‘Websites are interactive – when we publish a story our readers can immediately add a comment. We’re much more than a magazine, we’re a community, and our readers tell us what they’re thinking and feeling and give us direction into our next round of stories.’
I believe the magazine industry has always embraced its readers, often publishing their work, letters and stories (which I remark on in Media Queen, too). In that way, magazines have been a social network of a type, a community of people corralled around common interests.
It’s devastating that they weren’t able to translate this to the online world. Sure, they have Facebook and Instagram pages. But this is an age where magazines don’t need to be the conduit anymore – we have the ability to follow our favourite celebrities ourselves via their Insta Stories, endless reality TV streaming, and via the plethora of breathless global online media that distributes and regurgitates celebrity stories.
I don’t purchase magazines anymore, not like I used to as a teen and young woman. Does that make me part of the problem? I’ve moved on – my tastes have changed. I do buy literary journals and, in my household, others subscribe to speciality magazines that focus on particular hobbies.
Perhaps that’s the only way forward: niche magazines on specific interests, with a smaller editorial team.
What will you do, when the last traditional glossy magazine draws its final breath?