A Long, Slow, Drawn-Out Death for Magazines, Or Not

Today Folio tries to put a positive spin on the huge number of magazines that bit the dust this year — R.I.P. Portfolio and Gourmet — with the angle that less magazines folded than last year. But that obscures the fact that a lot of magazines still ceased publication. In the report, headlined,”Dead Print Magazine Tally Tapers Off,” Folio cites MediaFinder statistics that show 428 titles folded compared to body counts in the 600s in 2008 and 2007. Great! So magazines are still dying - just more slowly.

Not so, says Maria Rodale, she of the Rodale magazine empire. Magazines won’t die, and she’s tired of everyone telling her they will.

Speaking from personal experience, I’ve noticed something lately. The more I use technology (and I am on this damn computer a lot…too much), the more I want to read a magazine. But I want different things than I wanted five years ago. Frankly, I want a break. I want to be surprised and delighted …

The Internet is a technology that enables people to go out in SEARCH of things. I’m all for that and love it to pieces. But sometimes, I just want things to FIND me. Sometimes, I am just tired of looking and typing and seeking, and I just want to sit on my comfortable couch and be surprised when I turn the page.

That’s why I believe magazines won’t die.

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Alexandra Fenwick is an assistant editor at CJR.