DAVID SUMNER: ‘Magazines will survive, thrive’

MUNCIE, Indiana: Yes, the internet is hurting magazines, but for the large part, magazines are adapting and changing much faster and better than newspapers in meeting the threat.

That is the verdict of Prof David E. Sumner, the head of the nationally recognised magazine program at Ball State University, and the co-author with Shirrel Rhoades of Magazine: A Complete Guide to the Industry (Peter Lang, 2006).

The inherent elasticity of magazines to shift content, to shift audiences, and to even shift geographical locations enables them to come up with new business models to counter any threat, says Prof Sumner. And a small but significant proportion of new magazine readers are those who stumbled upon the internet sites of the magazines.

“Magazines are amazingly resilient in the face of changing social, economic and technological circumstances. But content is still king, content still reigns. The internet is just a medium, to deliver content. This business is about finding stories and reporting and writing them well. As long as we do that, magazines will have audiences both in print and online.”

Also view: ‘Will magazines die? Not any time soon’

Also read: The Husni-Sacks magazine future debate


1 Comment

  1. Randi

    Magazines will survive… they always have. But, I noticed that more and more magazines are becoming “softer” (that is, less news worthy more entertainment based). I think the worry shouldn’t be about the survival of magazines but more about the survival of newspapers… at least in their current form. More and more I notice this almost mass migration to the internet… it’s easier to get the news spoon fed through emails and technological subscriptions than it is to pay for a subscription to a paper that it going to just be recycled anyway.
    This leads to another question, then. If newspapers in the physical form become obsolete, will then the news become completely biased and vastly politicized? Will it become far easier to censor the news? Will people not see the whole picture (or even less so then they do now)?
    I think these questions need to be addressed, if the survival of magazines is being brought up.

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