26 September, 2020

The Pages Aren’t Yet Numbered

With agility and some rethinking, some magazines are surviving. Some are thriving. The magazine as a form has several issues ahead.

Tribhuvan Tiwari
The Pages Aren’t Yet Numbered

In the great cull of the print media that the internet is perpetrating, the magazine was always thought to be among the first to drop. It is the unhealthiest form of print excess,    after all. The magazine appears weekly or fortnightly, or monthly or quarterly, in an era when even the next day’s newspaper sometimes feels stale. It lavishes money and time upon stories, and who has a surplus of these items anymore? It publishes these stories at lengths of up to 10,000 words, which is, we are told, roug­hly 9,900 words more than the average reader’s attention span. The magazine aims for depth; the internet rewards shallowness. The magazine is stodgy and slow to move; the internet demands nimbleness. This contest was supposed to be over even before it properly began.

And make no mistake: many magazines are foundering. The newsweeklies, in particular, are in trouble—perhaps not all of them financially, but certainly as an idea of a published product. Newsweeklies once provided the long, analytical view; they now try to reframe stories that...



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