American Mass-Market Magazines

By Alan Nourie; Barbara Nourie | Go to book overview
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the political health of the magazine in which they are placed. A new marketing strategy for the New Republic was the addition of color "policy-maker" advertisement pages targeted specifically for readers in the Washington, D.C. area, designed to keep the magazine afloat and competitive. With such advertising ploys, however, the "labels" must change to meet the times. Jeff Dearth, the current publisher, admits "I have to worry about this dead weight of the knee- jerk liberalism label we have." 45 "He insists that the New Republic, named 'most insightful and thought-provoking magazine' by the readers of Washington Journalism Review in its annual 'Best in the Business' news awards . . . isn't as liberal as its reputation, and that conservative writers also are represented in the magazine." 46 While insisting that the New Republic "will not change editorially to make itself more palatable to advertisers," 47 Peretz reportedly has already yanked out one article because of possible conflict with a major tobacco advertiser's advertisements.

Significant courting of corporate accounts, "not necessarily Republican," 48 is also taking place, and the magazine is changing to reflect the lifestyle, emotions, social needs, and political philosophies of a highly targeted audience: readers who are "overeducated, overactive, and overaffluent. . . . The average reader is male (73%), at least a college graduate (87%), has an average income of $48,400 and is politically active. He is, on the average, 40 years old and spends approximately hours each week reading the New Republic and reads a lot of other publications as well." 49

And so, the image of Shoe on the front cover of the 24 October 1988 issue isn't so surprising: the highly literate editor, busy, high-tech but showing some frustration with the demands of change that come with a high-tech world; tie and tennis shoes--the perfect outfit for the modern yuppie executive. The headlines are appropriate for the nonwar era of 1988, satisfying personal needs, for self-gratification: drugs, football, painting in Paris, new fall books, and television; an article for the insatiable interest in the U.S.S.R., reflecting global telecommunications (what's on Soviet television tonight?); other articles on reverse discrimination, fiscal responsibility ("Dunkirk II"), and a few mild political meanderings about Democrat Dee and Republican Dum. With most of the helpful political criticism aimed at then presidential candidate George Bush, the library magazine appears to be changing rapidly with the times.

And the advertisement and layout? The 24 October 1988 issue totals only thirty-seven ads: five airline/aerospace companies; twenty-five booksellers/ vendors/publishers; and seven miscellaneous companies or corporations; there are two sketches, one poem, and a multicolor cartoon on the front cover. The more things change, the more they stay the same. . . .


Notes
1.
Cover of the New Republic, 24 October 1988.
2.
Frank Luther Mott, A History of American Magazines, vol. 5: Sketches of 21 Magazines, 1905-1930, ( Cambridge: Harvard University Press, Belknap Press, 1938).

-309-

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