BIAGI Chapter 4 – Magazines: Targeting the Audience
Sports Illustrated is one of earliest magazines to anticipate today’s trend in magazines targeted to specific
audience. These magazines cater articles and advertisings that reflect what each audience wants. Thus advertisers
like that the readers are good targets for their products. Magazines give readers info they can’t get anywhere else!
Magazines Reflect Trends and Culture
Glamour: top 10 women’s magazines, reaching <2 million readers every month
Parenting: most successful family magazine
Maxim: aimed at young adult males, with 2.5 readers (published by same company that produces Rolling
Stone). Maxim also launched Radio through Sirius XM Radio.
Magazines reflect the surrounding culture and the characteristics of the society. As reader’s needs and
lifestyles change, so do magazines.
Colonial Magazines Compete with Newspapers
First newspaper was in 1741 (50yrs after first newspaper) in America by Benjamin Franklin & Andrew
While newspapers cover daily crisis, magazines reach beyond parochial concerns of small communities
to carry their cultural, political, and social ideas to help foster a national identity.
The first magazines did not last long because they didn’t have advertisements, making them expensive.
Early magazines primarily provided a means for political expression.
Magazines Travel Beyond Local Boundaries
In 1800s, newspapers were only circulating within each city. Magazines became the only national
medium to travel beyond local areas. Subscribers sought them for news, culture, and entertainment.
First magazine to reach large public: The Saturday Evening Post in 1821. It was a nickel, and ¼ pages
Publishers Locate New Readers
Magazines expanded audience in 1800s: women’s issues, social crusades, literature and the arits, and
Central figure in magazine history: Sarah Josepha Hale. Louis A. Godey hired Hale to capitalize on
female audience. Hale was sought for morals, manners, literature, fashion, diet, and taste
She supported higher education and property rights for women.
Magazines were important instrumental for social change.
In Ladies’ Home Journal, it dealt issues on dangerous medicines. It was first magazine to refuse patent
med ads. Published by Cyrus Curtis, it offered columns of women’s issues, popular fiction, and sheet
After finding out many patent meds contain 40% alcohol, Edward Bok also began crusade against patent
meds. He revealed that meds sold to sooth noisy babies contained morphine.
Many magazines joined the fight against dangerous ads.
From Bok’s investigations, Congress passed the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906.
Fostering the Arts
In mid-1800s, literary audiences were sought by promoting nation’s writers. This began the Harper’s and
Even today they publish literary criticism and promote political debate.
Bc magazines had more time and space to reflect country’s problems, political magazines had forum for
public arguments by scholars and critical observers. Ex) The Nation, The New Republic and The Crisis.
The Nation: oldest and the most continuous in US = offers critical literary essays and arguments.
The New Public: criticizing political leaders
The Crisis: by Du Bois, attacked discrimination against African American soldiers during WWI, exposed
Ku Klux Klan activities, and argued for voting and housing Rights. Postal Act Helps Magazines Grow
Postal Act of 1879 encouraged growth of magazines. Before the Act, magazines paid postage unlike
newspapers, but after, they were granted second-class mailing privileges and cheap mailing rate. (Today
magazines travel on a postage rate)
This Act inc-ed number of monthly magazines 10 times.
But bc they travel through mail, they were vulnerable to censorship.
McClure’s Launches Investigative Journalism
Muckrakers, the investigative magazine journalists who targeted abuses by government and big
business, began to reach audience.
Samuel S. McClure, was editor important to the Progressive era in American politics, closing the
relationship btw gov and big business. He priced magazines 15cents (while others 25, 35) to reach to
audience ad hired Steffens and Tarbell to investigate wrongdoing.
Muckrakers targeted big businesses and corrupt gov.
Muckrakers are cited as America’s original investigative journalists.
IMPACT PEOPLE: Muckraker Ida Tarbell Targets John D. Rockefeller
o Targeted oil magnate John D. Rockefeller, creating 19 part series about the company.
The New Yorker and Time Succeed Differently
Two basic magazine types are:
1. Publishers seeking definable, targeted loyal audience
2. Publishers seeking broad, general readership
The New Yorker and Time best represent the two types.
Harold Ross and The New Yorker
Harold Ross gathered the wittiest group of writers, forming the Algonquin Round Table.
Ross published great commentary, fiction, and humor, with cartoons.
Ross sought sophisticated, wealthy audience
The New Yorker is the primary showcase for contemporary American writers and artists.
Henry Luce’s Empire: Time
Luce sought largest possible readership
It was for people willing to spend a half-hour to avoid being entirely uninformed.
He also launched: Sports Illustrated, Fortune, Life, Money, and People Weekly
Time is just a small part of Time Warner, which has TV stations, movie studios, book publishers, Home
Box Office, CNN, and America Online!
Luce’s magazine industry was copied by Ebony magazine, making another magazine Jet.
Specialized Magazines Take Over
When TV came in 1950s, it collapsed the General interest magazines bc they used it in TV.
Targeted magazines segmented the market, each magazine attracting fewer readers.
Magazines can target audience more effectively than any other medium.
Magazines Divide into Three Types
Consumer Magazines: ex) Time, Glamour, Parenting, Maxim.
o All magazines that are sold by subscription or at newsstands, supermarkets, and bookstores.
o They make most money bc they have most readers and have most advertising
Trade, Technical a