The magazine industry is an exciting one, mostly because the cultural creators and consumers are both watching to see how much technology will change the industry in this time of transition. At the center of the magazine publishing industry sits New York City, the metropolis that many of its residents consider the central cultural hub of the world.
New York is in the midst of a tech company explosion, with many startups being created all the time as it surpasses other cities to shoot to the number two spot for American tech centers (second only to Silicon Valley, an area defined and synonymous with the emerging 21st-century tech industry). Entrepreneurs are taking advantage of the connected, close-contact nature of the city to create apps and tools that help the city run smoothly and help consumers find what they want and need.
The place that magazines have in this landscape is one of polished journalism, authoritative analysis, and more credibility than blog writers, though there are definitely many other contentiously debated strengths and weaknesses of both forms. In particular domains the differences are more pronounced according to what function a blog or magazine has for the reader. With magazine websites people may dip in to many site to experience some content and then quickly move on to other sites, much in the way that people can buy their single favorite song off of an album or episode in a TV series through iTunes rather than buying the whole thing. This changes the media landscape and discourages content that readers are not interested in; the goal is to keep readers on the website as long as possible, exploring and viewing or clicking on ads, and perhaps becoming a subscriber to the print or iPad editions of the magazine.
After researching both New York magazine and Fast Company and learning a bit about the big three for the overview, it looks like New York will remain the center of the magazine publishing industry for quite a while even as tablets and the Internet change the media landscape. Blogs can be created from any place in the world where someone has access to an Internet connection and is literate. In order to publish a glossy magazine on paper that can be distributed to a huge national or international audience, you need much more infrastructure and money. Both New York and Fast Company are magazines that don’t have the 100-year history of some of the most enduring popular magazines yet because of this modern sensibility, could be more easily revamped and updated to keep up with the 21st century.
Within the past decade, by redoing the graphic design of each magazine, creating robust and intriguing websites, and updating content to reflect the interests of their readers, both magazines have been winning awards and have seen successful because of it. Readership can increase more easily in the Information Age since readers can come to a magazine from a link to an interesting article they see on Facebook or Twitter rather than only through the magazine on a newsstand. Magazines are able to cast a wide net as they hope to draw in more subscribers and readers.
Overall this investigation was enlightening and interesting, and gives me hope for the magazine industry as a whole in the future. Although we will likely see changes in the digital editions of magazines as tablets become more robust, advanced, and prevalent, and maybe magazine stands will be less ubiquitous around New York, the industry will certainly not die. This looks like a case of creative destruction where the experiences surrounding media and the appearances of different types of media will probably change, but the mediums themselves will endure.
You can barely walk 5 blocks in Manhattan without running into a newsstand, with walls full of glossy covers in bright colors trying to catch your eye and empty your wallet in innocent $5 increments. Magazines are a part of New York and the city is ever-present in magazines (even those that are national or international). Technology is changing our culture rapidly, but this glorious center of Media and the Arts is here to stay.