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Today, the term "Magazine" is defined as: Collections of articles, stories, and advertisements appearing in nondaily (such as weekly or monthly) periodicals that are published in the smaller tabloid style rather than the larger broadsheet newspaper style.


Chris Mailard, UK-based magazine editor and content strategist

  • So, what is a magazine? Award-winning editor Chris Maillard says it’s near-impossible to get a clear concrete definition. However, he provides 5 different ways at looking at this form of Mass Media.


1) A magazine is a Wunderkammer

(TheAppendix.net) (Oobject.com) (kirchen.net)


In case you’re not up to speed on renaissance German, it’s also known as a Cabinet of Curiosities; a room or display case with interesting, unusual and occasionally eccentric objects, usually collected by one person and displayed as both a conversation piece and an expression of its owner’s wide-ranging and eclectic interests, tastes and travels. They would be full of wondrous things, from native artifacts to stuffed animals (some expertly faked), preserved plants to mineral marvels. The visitor is treated to a fascinating, mind-expanding, unique set of wonders. Isn’t that what a magazine should do?



2) A magazine is a Skeleton

(Wilsoninfo.com) (Aoltv.com) (lovethispic.com)


In its essence, a magazine can just be a structure from which you hang various items of interest. Hence the ‘magazine format’ TV show (anyone else old enough to remember Tomorrow’s World, early Top Gear, vintage Good Food, even, lord preserve us, Nationwide?). Radio 4 is often a magazine in itself, with mini-magazines inside it. Woman’s Hour or Woman’s Own? Like a Christmas tree, you start with a basic structure then dangle attractive and shiny things off it to catch the reader’s attention and excite their interest.



3) A magazine is a Trip

(Broker News) (madmagazine.com) (impossiblehq.com)

It should take you on a journey to somewhere else, show you the sights, give you a relaxing break or an exhilarating adventure and leave you feeling invigorated, refreshed and ready to re-enter your normal reality. It’s a trip to somewhere where you feel at home, but it has enough strangeness to be intriguing and different. And you experience things in a magazine you’d never dream of doing at home. Want to play in that rock band, drive that sports car, walk that red carpet wearing that dress and those shoes?

Sure – just pick up that magazine. It’s your ticket to a place where you can.


4) A magazine is Behind The Sofa

(Diigo.com) (fortheloveofbooks.com) (Adweek.com)

Or under the stairs. Or in a treehouse. Or anywhere that’s a space of your own, shut out from distractions and annoyances, enclosed and secure. Any regular reader comes to appreciate their magazine as a refuge where they know the subject matter, understand the tone, value the opinions and appreciate the values. It’s their place and they can escape to it whenever they like. Is an online forum actually a magazine? Using that definition, probably.


5) A magazine is Tonto

(Zap2it Blog) (Psalm Box Key) (NY TIMES)  

The (somewhat non-PC) native guide who knows all the tricks, has a deep knowledge of the area and can sometimes steer you out of trouble. A trusted companion and a faithful friend, your magazine should be there to explain and navigate, full of sage advice and inarguable wisdom. Though the dodgy accent and tribal face paint is strictly optional.


Lappin, Todd. "What Is a Magazine Five Surprising and Useful Definitions." Flipboard Magazines Blog. Flipboard, 21 Aug. 2013. Web. 05 Mar. 2014. <http://magazines.flipboard.com/what-is-a-magazine-five-surprising-and-useful-definitions/>.

Comments (1)

bhespanhol said

at 9:12 pm on Feb 1, 2014

I spelled Big board wrong... I am sorry... I also don't have permissions to delete this post... so i'll create another page.

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