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Chapter 4: Magazines – Targeting the Audience
By the Early 1950s,
- Henry Luce’s Time & Fortune magazines were well established. He travelled the
world and met with people all over who wanted to talk sports with him. But he
had no knowledge of sports.
- Eventually he gave in to the demand and created Sports Illustrated. It was one the
earliest magazine that set the trend today for magazines to target a specific
audience. Today magazines generate success by catering to their audience with
articles and ads that reflect what readers want.
Magazines Reflect Trends and Culture:
-Glamour by Conde Nast reaches over 2 million readers each month, top 10
women’s magazines. Parenting – nation’s most successful family magazine
targets primarily new parents and parents with small children.
-Maxim targets young adult males, had one of the most successful magazine
launches ever when debuted in 1997. it was published by same company as
Rolling Stone and has 2.5 million readers.
-Magazines reflect the surrounding culture and the characteristics of the society.
readers’ lifestyles and needs change, magazines will follow. Current trend
towards specialty mags and internet mags is the response to shrinking readers.
Colonial Magazines Compete with Newspapers:
- 1741, 50 years after the first newspaper, magazines join the American media.
Magazines carry culture, political and social ideas to help foster national identity.
- Benjamin Franklin and Andrew Bradford raced to become america’s first
magazine publisher. Franklin originated the idea but Bradford got dibs first by
publishing American Magazine in 1741. Franklin’s mag came 3 days later
- Neither magazine lasted very long. They did not carry ads so it became too
expensive to produce and circulation was limited to people who could afford
Magazines Travel Beyond Local Boundaries:
- Newspapers were limited to city boundaries, even if cities are large. National
news spread very slowly. Books were expensive, so magazines became america’s
only national medium to travel beyond local boundaries.
-The Saturday Evening Post started in 1821, 4 pages and cost only a nickel each.
No illustrations and 1 page were all ads. It was affordable.
Publishers Locate New Readers:
- 19th century publishers found many other audiences to target and spend a century
to locate readers needs. Magazine subjects endured the 1800s were women issues,
social crusades, literature and the arts, and politics.
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- Magazines opened more the women contributors than newspapers did. Louis A.
Godey was the first to capitalize on female readers. Godey’s Lady’s Book and
Editor Sarah Josepha Hale for advice on morals, manners, literature, fashion, diet
- Hale supported higher education and property rights for women. The magazine
had 150,000 subscribers.
- Magazines became an important instrument of social change. The Ladies Home
Journal is credited with leading a crusade against dangerous home medicines.
- Many women magazines in the 1800s were for patent medicines, Ladies Home
Journal was the 1st to refuse patent medicine ads. The journal launched several
crusades, offered columns for women issues and published popular fiction.
- Other magazines joined to fight against dangerous ads and congress even passed
the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 partly due to magazines influence.
Fostering the Arts:
- Mid 1800s, magazines began to seek literary audience by promoting writers.
Harper’s and The Atlantic began more than a century ago.
- Both magazines still publish literary criticism and promoting political debate.
- political magazines provide a forum for public arguments by scholars and critical
observers. 3 enduring national political mags: 1) The Nation, 2) The New
Republic, 3) The Crisis.
-The Nation is the oldest founded in 1865. the oldest continuously published
opinion journal in the United States. Offers essays, and arguments for progressive
change. It is supported by benefactors and subscribers, a foundation that has
helped them survive so long.
-The New Republic never had a great success, founded in 1914, but readers enjoy it
regularly criticizing politicians.
-The Crisis, founded by W.E.B. Du Bois of the NAACP (National Association for
the Advancement of Coloured People). He attacked discrimination against Black
soldiers during WWI, and exposed the KKK activies and argued for African
American voting rights.
Postal Act Helps Magazines Grow:
- The Act of 1879 helped magazines grow, before magazines had to pay postage.
Congress gave magazines second class privileges and cheap mailing rate.
McClure’s Launches Investigative Journalism:
- Muckrakers: Investigative magazine journalists who targeted abuses by
government and big businesses. McClure’s Magazine’s publisher, Samuel S.
McClure was legendary for this type of journalism.
- He priced his magazines at 15 cents per issue, and hired writers such as Lincoln
Steffens and Ida Tarbell to investigate wrongdoings.
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