What is a magazine?

Everyone knows what a magazine is. Or, do we? It used to be easy to recognize a magazine. It was a printed and bound sheaf of pages that was published periodically, whether weekly, monthly, or quarterly. Then came the Internet. Wow! That solved the printing and distribution problem. Just take the magazine and put all the content up there for everyone (or no one) to read. Wait a minute. Is it a Web site now or a magazine?

What distinguishes a Web site from an e-zine, or, for that matter, from a print magazine with a presence on the Internet? Can someone who is publishing only on the World Wide Web call themselves a magazine? How do they know they aren’t simply another Web site or even just a blog? Traditionally, a magazine has been categorized as a periodical. If we keep that category as a defining characteristic, then the question is whether the “magazine” on the Web is published on a regular periodical schedule or whether information is entered haphazardly.

I asked Idelette Vicker, editor of the beautiful “She Loves Magazine” on the Internet, how she distinguishes the site from a Web site or a blog. She responded: “To me, a Web site is more static with basic information about a business, church, or product.  You can order a product, get contact information, reserve a stay for your pet at a kennel, etc. Blog content is more personal. A magazine is creating content around the issues of the day or questions of the heart, just as a print publication might do.”

You might ask why defining what a magazine is matters. It matters to me because our name is Magazine Training International and our mission is to provide training and resources for Christian magazine publishers. So, we have to know what a magazine is and who we are supposed to be training in what kind of skills. We’ve just added digital publishing to our training program. But if Web sites can also be magazines, how far do we go in changing who we are and what we do?

3 thoughts on “What is a magazine?

  1. I think that what you typed was very logical.
    But, consider this, what if you were to write a killer headline?
    I mean, I don’t want to tell you how to run your website, however what if you added a title that makes people want more? I mean What is a magazine? | magazine mavin is kinda boring. You should look at Yahoo’s front page and note how they write news
    titles to get viewers to click. You might add a related video or a related picture
    or two to get readers interested about everything’ve got to say. Just my opinion, it could bring your posts a little bit more interesting.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s