Still reading magazines?

March 19, 2009
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Even with talk of the demise of print journalism, many of us still turn to magazines not just for information, but for pleasure. After all, you don't see any Kindles being sold at supermarket check-out lines.

And so while they don't have the high-profile status or consumer impact as the Oscars or the Tonys, I thought I'd let you know today of the nominees for the National Magazine Awards.

In the category of General Excellence, the nominees are broken down by circulation, thus avoiding David v. Goliath battles. Here are the nominess:

Circulation under 100,000
The American Scholar; Aperture; Bidoun; Print; The Virginia Quarterly Review

Circulation 100,000 - 250,000
Foreign Policy; Los Angeles Magazine; Mother Jones; Paste; Time Out New York

Circulation 250,000 - 500,000
The Atlantic; Backpacker; New York; Texas Monthly; W

Circulation 500,000 1,000,000
The Economist; Fast Company; GQ; Runner's World; Wired

Circulation 1,000,000 2,000,000
Bon Appétit; Field & Stream; The New Yorker; Popular Science; Vogue

Circulation over 2,000,000
Martha Stewart Living; National Geographic; Reader's Digest, Real Simple, Time

Are any of these on your regular reading list? Do you still read them in print or look to what's available on line?

And are there others that you think deserve to be in their company? (Note: Indy-based Emmis Communciations has two pubs, Los Angeles Magazine and Texas Monthly, in the running.)

Your thoughts?
  • I love The Economist. Between that publication and a nice little magazine called The Week I get just about everything I need to know about world events, politics, and economics, without a lot of boneheaded pandering and celebrity gossip masquerading as news.

    I subscribe to both Backpacker and Outside because I like to pretend to be an outdoorsman even as I almost never get outdoors anymore. Outside is generally a better publication to read, though, as they have writers like Jon Krakauer (Into the Wild, Into Thin Air, etc.).

    Martha Stewart Living has a circulation comparable to National Geographic? I would rather read about Mayan temples and exotic fish than doilies and fondue, but to each their own relaxation.
  • I'm still reading National Geographic, Mother Jones, and Real Simple and enjoy every page of them.........Ok, we also get Sports Illustrated, Consumer Reports, National Geo for Kids, Highlights and American Girl. I like magazines, can you tell?

    I'll have to check out The Economist after reading Brian's comments above.

    I'll have to say that I've turned to the internet for most of my news, like the IBJ, though I still do get the Sunday NYTimes (I tried to give it up but went through horrible withdrawal).
  • I used to read the Atlantic, but I do not like their recent format changes, and they really seem to be working hard at dumbing down the content of their articles.
  • National Geographic and Vanity Fair are the two magazines that I won't cut out of my budget.
  • Lou, that's great to see Paste on your list. I used to work for them and still get excited every time the magazine arrives in my inbox. They've done a great job growing from a small niche magazine into a relatively well-known quality publication.
  • I am a hold-out and still read several magazines in hard-copy form. I love getting new issues in the mail and even though I have less and less time to read them, sitting down and reading through a magazine is one of my favorite things to do. Because I have so little time though I have gravitated towards magazines that are light in content like Entertainment Weekly, Rachael Ray, Real Simple and some cooking magazines, but I like these because when I don't have time to devote to a full article, I can always pick these up in my spare 3 min. while my dinner is defrosting in the microwave.
  • I love Paste. I don't subscribe, but probably will now that I can't pick up the latest copy at Northside News. I'm one of those dinosaurs that likes reading hard-copy, and likes CDs more than digital, so I like that the music sampler in each issue comes on CD and online. I also subscribe to National Geographic. Magazines just aren't nearly as satisfying online as in print.
  • I read Smithsonian, Archeology, and Entertainment Weekly. I love the Smithsonian because if gives you articles on a variety of subjects. I try to read cover to cover, even the articles I don't think I'm interested in because inevitablely I learn something and find it more interesting than I thought I would. I love history and archeology - hence reading Archeology Magazine. EW is just for fun and keeps me informed with the latest tv / movies news. I love sitting on my screened porch on a summer weekend morning with my magazines and coffee!
  • Every issue of Paste Magazine leaves me hungry to discover new music and books. Their content sits on the pulse of music, movies and good reads. From the sample CD included in every issue to their up-and-coming artist section, they find all the bands you wish you had discovered first and hope no one else flocks to in droves. And they promote the independent mom and pop shops that are a part of the music culture.

    What I admire most about Paste is their passion for independent thinking and integrity to the readers. When other zines struggle to maintain a strong circulation, Paste let subscribers choose how much they were willing to pay for an annual subscription. They're entire look and voice has a brand of its own, and it's one of the few reads I breeze through from cover to cover with such anticipation.

    I've subscribed to Paste Magazine since 2005, and would never go back to Rolling Stone again.
  • I love the Economist. Whenever I at my dad's I read Backpacker. However, I wish that the Next American City was on that list. It's a publication out of Philadelphia and is a quarterly. It's a great magazine and I hope that everyone checks it out.

    I also regularly read Planning and Harpers (both sent to my house). I think they are great and love the format and I'm from the New Media Generation! Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and online newspapers are great but you just don't read random things. I only target things that immediately interest me. It makes editors and headline generates so much more important. The hard copy allows me to hop on the train and read some news as I go to work or stuck on transfers (now that I am in DC the system works more efficiently than Chicago).

    Maybe IBJ should start selling copies on Indygo buses! It would give people something to do.
  • I have been a GQ subscriber for roughly 15 years. I don't always read all the all of the articles, but as long as Glenn O'Brien's The Style Guy column continues to run, I'll still be a subscriber. This column is a riot and there are THOUSANDS of men in Indy who could benefit from the sartorial advice.

    My wife receives Real Simple. It's a gorgeous magazine but she rarely reads it except for the recipes. The best recipe magazine though has to be Everyday Food. She's been a subscriber to this monthly for a long time. It's mostly recipes with the occasional tips of seasonal foods, storage, wine pairings, etc.

    Another gorgeous magazine is Donna Hay - even more elegant than Real Simple with all of the advice of Martha Stewart Living.

    I used to get Dwell at one of my old jobs and that's a beauty too, but the articles are lacking in my opinion.

    I wish I could make time to read The Economist, easily the best news publication out there.
  • The only member of the list that I formerly read religiously was Time Out NY back in my days of NY residency. (a great rag) I currently subscribe to American Theatre, Live Design, Family Handyman (ha ha), and Entertainment Weekly. I personally miss Indy Men's Magazine...anyone know what happened to the guy that put that out out?
  • Magazines are my downfall--I love the well researched stories, the vivid colors of the photography and more. Wired and Fast Company are two of my favorites, but I also love National Geographic and Smithsonian for the historical background stories. The Economist and This Week are great to keep up with the news. Love the cartoons in the New Yorker as well.
    I am always amazed that Reader's Digest makes these lists--'everyone' claims to read it, but how many really do?
    One publication that can be crossed off the list--the Indy Star has totally lost the meaning of journalism! Long live the IBJ.
    (Todd Tobias was the Indy Men's magazine guy--and I believe a guy named Lou Harry wrote for them once in awhile!)
  • I admit to only subscribing to Fast Company, which, I'm actually not sure which credit card they're auto-debiting, but one of these days I'll find out and cancel.

    In a care-free world where money grew on trees and my free time flourished like peonies in an Indiana summer, I'd subscribe to several of the above, but I present PRES'S SUREFIRE LIST FOR BEING A SKINFLINT:

    TIME - I am quite happy with
    Nat Geo - Get my fill with the cable TV channel version and knockoffs on Discovery.
    Reader's Digest - getting nostaglic for my great-aunt's basement, where they used to be stacked higher than the washing machine, but not on my list
    Field & Stream - read it at the barbershop
    The Economist - free access at work (text-only)
    Foreign Policy - skim through it at Borders / Barnes & Noble
    Wired - online, as it should be given the content, would consider paying to subscribe, no more than $5 per year. Low subscription should be offset by targeted advertising revenue.
    GQ - skim it at CVS while waiting for my prescription
    Popular Science - not my forte, but I'd suggest reading it at the library
    The New Yorker - (no the)
    The Atlantic -- (yes the)

    Happy skinflinting and all-around penny pinchery,

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