Newsweek recently announced the cancellation of the 80-year-old print version of their weekly magazine. Beginning in 2013, the all-digital magazine will be called Newsweek Global. The magazine business is dynamic, with cessations and new entries occurring every year. But the Newsweek decision seems particularly significant because of its long history and wide-ranging readership. If the announcement left you wondering about the cultural or societal implications of magazines, the following books in the Loop collection might fill in some of the gaps.
David Sumner brings a journalism professor’s analysis and knowledge to The Magazine Century: American Magazines Since 1900. The 20th century witnessed a 509% increase in the number of magazines published between 1900 and 2000. Organized chronologically, the book examines consumer magazines that reflected the broad developments in society during each decade. Examples range from the launching of Fortune and Life during the Great Depression in the 30’s, Rolling Stone during the social upheaval of the 60’s, to Macworld after the introduction of the Macintosh computer in the 80's. Sumner also discusses broader themes such as the role of advertising, the decline of intellectual content, and the future of magazines, both digitally and in print. (Loop Library, Call Number: 051.082 S9562M)
The second book profiled this month offers perspectives from inside the magazine industry. The Delacorte Lectures in this volume were presented to students in the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University by instrumental people in the magazine business: writers, editors, publishers, fact checkers, copy editors, and art directors. These lectures reveal the intellect, skills, knowledge, integrity, and dedication necessary to produce a magazine at publications such as The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, the New York Review of Books, and Vanity Fair. Before your next monthly arrives in your mailbox, check out The Art of Making Magazines: On Being an Editor and other Views from the Industry. (Loop Library, Call number: 070.41 A7847)
Many people equate Cosmopolitan Magazine with Helen Gurley Brown. But Gurley Brown’s editorship of this storied publication began 79 years after it was launched in 1886 as a family literary magazine. James Landers, a journalism historian, immersed himself in articles, columns, and images from over 1000 issues of Cosmopolitan to deconstruct the history of this survivor in a business where many others have failed. The Improbable First Century of Cosmopolitan Magazine takes us through the many lives (fiction, political commentary, sensationalism, bible of young women) and leaders (John Brisben Walker, William Randolph Hearst, Ray Long, Helen Gurley Brown) of this agile centenarian. (Loop Library, Call Number: 051 L255I)