Senior Client Manager, Jo St Quinton is our 80s girl talking about magazines this March…
First of all an apology. I’m an 80s girl – big hair, Duran Duran (the One Direction of their day), Walkman (the height of technology at the time) and Smash Hits. THE magazine. Long gone now but at its height it sold over a million copies a month. As a teenager I waited for the day it was published and was on the newsagent’s shelf. An experience I thought my son would never have. But I was wrong.
Walking into the supermarket the other day I noticed that there is still a wide array of magazines available. But surely the internet has made these obsolete?
At W&P education, even with the rise of the internet and instantly accessible information, the humble news magazine has held its ground, with 50 news magazines produced a year by 20 schools. What lies behind the enduring popularity of the magazine?
Distribution – The internet has made information instantly accessible but it is ‘on demand’ information. Great when it’s instant news, but the majority of internet content is initiated by the reader. Finding digital contact details to distribute information to is difficult, if not impossible, in some cases. No such issue with printed magazines. It can be handed to the recipient, posted or delivered to the reader. One of our schools makes it an important part of their tutorials. In others, teachers hand individual copies to students, making its distribution an event, increasing the ‘value’ of the magazine and the information inside.
Content – Instant news is not always ‘upbeat’. For schools having an outlet to celebrate the fabulous achievements of their students, teachers and support staff is priceless. It lifts spirits. Be it the ‘Outstanding’ from Ofsted to the ‘burying the head teacher in beans for Comic Relief’, these are stories with a life and should be celebrated and remembered in a format that will last.
Longevity – Most internet information is instant, gone in a click of a button. Great source of ‘up to the minute’ information, but there is something exciting about immortalising your thoughts, achievements and your name in print. Most students write on Facebook, Blogs or Twitter but the thought is gone, disposable. With news magazines the information is kept, and sometimes treasured. Has your Nan ever saved a copy of one of your social media posts?
Inclusion – Many of the magazines we produce have a high level of student involvement. It’s a powerful tool, particularly when aligned to the school curriculum. Via our Trust In Youth programme, Mag in a day and other initiatives, students produce work that is commercially viable. They have a vehicle to showcase their abilities as writers, designers and photographers. A professionally printed magazine in a student’s portfolio is much more powerful than a page printed from the internet.
Audience – It’s not only students and teachers that read our news magazines. We have a wide, suggested distribution list which includes the obvious (parents, governors, support staff) but also the not so obvious (grandparents, local shops, estate agents and councillors). These audiences are diverse in age and background but for them the magazine remains the most accessible form of information. Magazines have helped lift the impression of many schools in their local community and nationally, they have even been known to encourage a visit from the local MP.
So as I lie with my son and read him his bed time story from his magazine (no iReader in sight) I’ll look forward to learning the lyrics from the latest One Direction song from a printed magazine, of course.