Last week, actor, model, and football player, Jake Cuenca tweeted his exasperation at the magazine industry, particularly fashion mags:
When pressed on his opinion by Pep, he reiterated his wish that local magazines could evolve and feature different stories to inspire people like himself. While Cuenca’s criticisms have weight, his opinions shouldn’t be left unanswered.
First, magazines do have growing innovations and new stories. However, this isn’t often seen in the dead tree version but on the internet where there is a greater breadth of stories. This behavior is probably caused by the affordability of online publishing allowing magazines to be more experimental compared to print that really need to recoup costs. Another potential reason is the ease of checking previous stories online which makes recycling stories harder.
Secondly, the fashion world and other niches that magazines cover are often quite small. It can’t be helped if the same people are featured again and again. Top personalities that the common people recognize enough to buy articles about them are few. Focusing on the many rookies, unfortunately, is hard to justify unless they grow relevant and then the magazine will eventually find that they have written tons of articles about them if the rookies fulfill their promise.
Lastly, most people don’t read magazines forever; they drop out after a time and are replaced by new readers. TV Tropes call this fanbase turnover the Fleeting Demographic Rule. It even gives the example of bridal magazines that assume readers subscribe to the publication only for the duration of their engagement and could safely recycle articles every 16 to 20 months. Other magazines have longer cycles but they will eventually rewrite stories for a new generation of readers that hasn’t read the originals before. This cycle isn’t all bad because foundational articles that everyone should know or is assumed to know will be covered once again with occasional updates for new trends. After all storytelling is always about relevance.
All magazines should strive to create something new all the time but that isn’t always possible or even always desirable. It may be buried by recycled articles but the evolution of magazine stories and storytelling is still there accesible online.
Banner photo from: ABS-CBN