those of her family--and she probably won't feel remorse for her actions later, either. Readers who are familiar with mainstream magazines are likely to be put off even by the appearance of True Story. More than 60 percent of its pages are black and white on pulp paper, with slick four-color pages reserved for advertising or the posed photographs that still head each story. For those unfamiliar with the confession genre, the titles and captions seem bizarre rather than intriguing, and every story is continued to later pages not once but many times, sometimes with less than a column of text on each page.
Economic changes discourage potential readers as well. Like general-interest women's magazines, True Story is geared toward the stay-at-home mother and homemaker, but lower-class women, whether by choice or necessity, have increasingly joined the work force. Traditionally, they have often bought their confession magazines on the newsstand, but True Story's cover price of $1.69 compares poorly with the price of supermarket tabloids like National Enquirer* ($.85) and Star ($.75), which are also aimed at lower-class women and better equipped in format to entertain readers with limited leisure time. 25
None of these factors would discourage the avid reader of confessions who is familiar with their format. The downward trend in readership has not unduly disturbed advertisers of certain kinds of products that have enjoyed great success in confession magazines, like cigarettes or package goods marketers. 26 But it is difficult for those unfamiliar with the confession genre to view these magazines as entertainment, instruction, or a market vehicle. Having made no substantive changes in format or content since the 1940s, True Story is clearly in retrenchment in the 1980s, an anachronism intent on holding its traditional market and ill- equipped to communicate its appeal to either new readers or advertisers.