So, What is a Magazine, Really?
As most of my readers know,
By Bob Sacks
Published: June 15, 2010
As most of my readers know, I have been debating my friend Samir Husni across the country for almost a decade. He is an admitted tree hugger and I lean mightily towards a digital future for our industry. Our debates are great fun not only for the audience but for the two of us as well. We enjoy taking opposite sides of important magazine issues.
As you might expect when I saw the headline of his recent posting "So, What is a Magazine, Really?" I started reading with great interest. That is when I read the following lines by Samir
"Without the ink, the paper, the touch, the smell, the look, the taste, it will not be called a magazine." ... And, if it is not ink on paper, please try to find another name to define that new medium, because in my book if it is not printed it is not a magazine."
From my perspective these words and thoughts couldn't be more wrong. I firmly believe that ink is not one of the major components necessary for a magazine.
In working with my partners at mediaIdeas five years ago we developed a set of criteria for the definition of a magazine. We believe that a magazine must be paginated, edited, designed, date stamped, permanent, and periodic. But it does not have to use either ink or paper to be an 'official' magazine. Ink and paper are an unnecessary restriction in the 21st century. Of course, a magazine can be printed with ink on paper, but to demand that it be so is unrealistic and would doom an otherwise vibrant industry to the monasteries of time long past.
The best-selling book of all times was originally written on a scroll. Then eventually printed on paper by our friend Guttenberg. The Bible is now available digitally. Does the digital delivery mean it's not a book? I think rather that the words and thinking that are important and not the substrate.
Of course, it may not be fair but I can't help pointing out that Samir delivered his article "So What is a Magazine Really?" in a digital blog and not in a printed magazine.