Wednesday, September 17, 2008

All Hail the Supplement!

Image from Men.Style.Com

Magazine lovers are told constantly that the publishing world, facing many reported financial challenges, will soon cease to exist giving way solely to online reading. To those that keep magazines on their bookshelf as prized possessions, this prediction never fails to break our heart. It comes as a surprise then that the nation's two major newspapers, doing much worse than magazines in terms of retaining print readers, release new magazine supplements to their papers.

The Wall Street Journal unveiled its much anticipated magazine WSJ. this month to compete with the New York Time's existing T Magazine. Aside from the fact that the initial-only names are uninspired and trying-too-hard (and yes, that period is purposefully in WSJ.), this marks a positive sign in the allure of glossy magazines to both readers and advertisers. Men.Style.Com rates the two, declaring T the winner, but the WSJ. debut feels much more foreboding.

Its cover story shows model Diana Dondoe in an amateur-looking newspaper dress against a colorless backdrop. The Wall Street Journal is not known for its critical fashion coverage, and it shows. The story, however, asks how the luxury industry must evolve in order to survive. WSJ. must be in denial because really that is the very question they should be asking themselves.

Other newspapers around the country are also trying their hand in fashionable glossy supplements, like the Boston Globe's Fashion Boston, but their efforts come up inept. Even for a magazine connoisseur like myself, using them for wiping seems their only practical use.

These struggling and stodgy institutions believe that the invaluable 20 to 30-something audience, which opts for GoogleNews instead of newspapers, still have an interest in reading magazines and looking at printed photographs instead of digital ones. Plus, luxury and fashion companies still rely on magazines as a primary source of advertising, just as magazines rely heavily on them for income. So in the face of adversity, we now have two new magazines to ogle at each month.

1 comment:

Carbon Couture said...

WSJ. is trying to make that newspaper top look like the Balenciaga floral one that was in every editorial last spring. It's a little late.