When I heard the news last week that Entertainment Weekly and five other titles owned by its parent company would cease their printed editions and go digital-only, my heart sank. It felt like a break-up. I’ve been a reader since the late 1990s and am still a subscriber. The first issue I bought featured a dapper Jeff Goldblum on its cover promoting the sequel to Jurassic Park. And yet, while it would be easy for me to write a pessimistic column about the current struggles of magazines, I’m not sure it would be accurate.
One of the pleasures of producing and hosting our weekly radio show about magazines, The Stack, is the sheer number of new launches I see. From a magazine about miniature design to an issue on the reinvigorated world of travel, there’s a host of new talent out there. On our latest episode, on which I reminisced about Entertainment Weekly, I also spoke to publishers and editors from Uruguay, Australia and the Netherlands – all with exciting stories to tell from the world of print. And our forthcoming episode this Saturday will be a celebration of 15 years of Monocle. It was a joyous affair to record in the studio with our editorial director Tyler Brûlé, editor in chief Andrew Tuck and creative director Richard Spencer Powell looking back over all things Monocle (as well as some looking ahead). And – no spoilers here – but they each reveal their favourite Monocle cover ever.
In short, publishers shouldn’t give up so easily on their print titles. A digital presence (such as, say, a morning newsletter) is important and necessary but, as well as the pleasant feel of holding a magazine, the fact is that printed matter still commands respect and attention. Jeff Goldblum wouldn’t look nearly as appealing on my smartphone screen.