Our Other Voice today, Jeanne Byington, recently began blogging at The Importance of Earnest Service. She's one of the top p.r. pros in the home furnishings biz, having worked for some of the leading wallcoverings makers as well as giants like 3M.
When she told me what she heard from young people about their career ambitions, I thought it was worth sharing.
Au Revoir (until we meet again) to Printed Magazines
Who can miss news of the burgeoning
list of folded magazines? Industry sources estimate that we lost some 300 in
the last year and we know of more that haven’t yet been announced or are
teetering. Advertising Age’s “Last Page” column,
illustrates every category. Some of the most recent: Best Life, Teen, Country Home and Hallmark Magazine to Domino,
Wondertime, Plenty, Electronic Gaming
Monthly and Atlanta Peach.
But wait a minute. Just as the Arts & Crafts Movement pushed back against the industrial revolution, what do most of the best and brightest communications students have to say about this magazine slaughter?
I sit on the selection committee for a major 2009 communications foundation scholarship competition. I was surprised to hear the majority of the 31 finalists we met with rhapsodize about their relationship with the printed word and image. There’s no mistake. Many of these high school seniors through graduate students have interned at top brands and/or have edited or designed their school magazines and attend, or are about to attend, the country’s best-regarded communications programs. And many said their goal is to work at a print (yes, print) magazine.
One said she considers her participation in Facebook and other social networks to be, well -- work. When she relaxes with a magazine, she's entranced.
So it’s not just boomer fogies [no advertiser wants their dollars—right?] who unwind with a much-loved magazine, clip and file favorite articles, admire layouts, devour captions, style tips and tidbits. There seems to be a chunk of interest bubbling up from advertisers’ favorite demographic. Think this is a valid trend, that there’s a future for print, that the young editors will discover a profitable formula while there’s still time.
Or will magazines become charming collectibles?
-- Jeanne Byington