But a few surprising answers to that question – asked in John Koblin’s fine piece in this week’s New York Observer – came from editors who seem to have no idea whether their magazines will appear in traditional form, on electronic gadgets, or on edible paper or another yet-to-be-created medium.
“Sorry, not dodging you,” Janice Min, editor of Us Weekly told Koblin. “I just think I have nothing to say because I don’t really know the answer!”
From Lucky editor Kim France: “I cannot answer that without putting on my silly hat!” she said. “It’s just impossible to imagine.”
Other journalists gave the query a little more thought. Interestingly, Wired editor Chris Anderson said the sky is not falling on print-focused magazines, adding: “Obviously, newspapers are going to be changing dramatically over the next few years, but magazines are not newspapers. And I think magazines 10 years from now are going to look something like they do now.”
That’s a point often overlooked in discussions of the media at large. Newspaper readers generally want news – as up-to-date, clear, and concise as possible – with features and opinions thrown into the mix. Magazine readers are looking for the big picture: lengthy, in-depth reports on prominent issues, filled with context, art, and a range of viewpoints that daily publications do not offer as often. And the Web will supplement this coverage.
Shameless plug: Many journalists told PRWeek last month that they’re more aware of the business predicaments facing newspapers and magazines – not a surprise, considering that many of them are likely sitting next to empty desks. Koblin’s interviewees concurred, saying that the magazine industry will change as editors are called on to be brand managers as much as journalists.