Archive for August 16th, 2007

HUSNI: Will magazines die? Not any time soon

16 August 2007

WASHINGTON, DC: In a journalism ocean full of gloom and impending doom—full of pornographic navel-gazing over its current state—Professor Samir Afif Husni comes across like an isle of hope that American publishers, investors, and editors either can’t see or are trying desperately to swim away from.

Not only does the chair of the department of journalism at the University of Mississippi believe that news of the death of newspapers is vastly exaggerated, the man trademarked as “Mr Magazine” believes—pinch yourself—that magazines will not only survive but thrive.

That optimism may seem natural for a “minority among the minorities”, a Presbyterian among the Lebanese, who seen far worse. But that optimism is also a reflection of the passion for a genre of journalism that has captivated America’s “leading magazine expert” since he was eight.

Dr Husni, who holds a doctorate in journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia and a master’s degree in journalism from the University of North Texas, has over 24,000 magazines in his private collection—and over 800 neckties in his wardrobe.

And when he is not in his office reading magazines, he is at the newsstands buying magazines, as he was in Washington, DC, while attending the annual conference of the Association of Educators in Journalism and Mass Communications (AEJMC) last week.

In this sans serif exclusive video, shot against the backdrop of the Washington Public Library, Dr Husni explains why magazines will always be around—and just what they will need to do so as not to be overwhelmed by the surging waters of pessimism that has very nearly consumed American newspapers.

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postscript: As acting chair of the department of journalism, Dr Husni waited on tables at a Lebanese restaurant on his wife’s rest: “We used to say the food is so good it takes a PhD to serve it!” Next month, his wife opens her own Lebanese restaurant: “Now we say the food is so good, it takes a PhD to make it!”

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