Friday, January 25, 2008

Sad times, indeed.

What is happening to the Australian magazine industry? It's going downhill, and it's not exactly the best in the first place. I almost ashamed to live here, people. Okay, so admittedly I'm not exactly the most intellectual person around, yet neither am I the dumbest person (at least I can find the friggen' sale wall when I walk into a store! Sorry, frustrations with customers who come into work and fail to realise that big red signs saying 'SALE' indicate the sale wall) and I appreciate individuality, journalistic integrity and a serious passion to promoting the public's right to know, whether it be in current affairs, fashion, beauty or the celeb world - although sometimes the public really doesn't need to know that much about the latter.

When I go overseas, not only am I astounded by the amount of magazine titles, I am flabbergasted at the fact that these magazines appear to think individually! Lo and behold, the last time I read US Elle, there was a very well-written, thoughtful and intellectual piece on the demise of feminism in politics. It was different, and do you know how refreshing that is??

Case in point for the Australian magazine industry - practically every December issue of any magazine featured perfume. Yes, I'm glad you like perfume. No, I'm not happy that all of you wrote about it. Thanks for giving me a reason to save my money - I clearly don't need to buy so many mags since they all have THE SAME THING, right??

And now, the Bulletin and Russh magazine are both finishing. Russh hasn't officially been ended, but since they're in about $19, 000 worth of debt, it might take a miracle to revive it. Pray this miracle happens. Because Russh is something different. So is the Bulletin, Australia's oldest magazine and perhaps one of its most stimulating. I would have been proud to work there when I grow up, but I GUESS NOT - bit hard to work at a non-exisitng magazine now isn't it?

I think - not that I'm any expert, just a rather irate reader - that their problem is the marketing. Mainstream may be trash, but that's the reason it sells so well - most people like it. Russh's cult status meant that it had a group of very loyal readers - ut only a small group, when compared to some of the other glossies. The Bulletin's readership of wealthy, old intellectuals isn't exactly appealing to many people either. Rather elitist, and just a bit boring. Staid. Stagnant.

I wish they'd re-invent themselves - not losing the quality, mind, but perhaps appealing to younger readers with a vibrant image and a piece or two slotted in about pop culture, trends - more The Weekend Australian than New Woman though. And, something that I've noticed in some of the pieces, stop acting as if your entire audience is full of old, Anglo-Australian men. Perhaps in Canberra, they are. But it's a small city, if a city at all (yes, yes, NSW elitism) and to survive, you can't keep targeting them. Because let's face it - and I hate to be blunt here - those men are going to die in a few decades anyway.

Anyway, now that I've blathered on enough, let's have a moment's silence for both magazines, and Heath Ledger too...

>one minute's silence<