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What is a Magazine? A brief history and its types

Last updated on 19 March, 2024 by Web Jeevan

The Word Magazine is coined by the Edward Cave. It is derived from the Arabic word ‘makhazin’ which means storehouse- all bundled together in one package. A magazine can be explained as a periodical that contains a variety of articles as well as illustrations, which are of entertaining, promotional and instructive nature. It generally contains essays, stories, poems, articles, fiction, recipes, images, etc. and offers a more comprehensive, in-depth coverage and analysis of subject than newspapers. Most of the magazines generally cover featured articles on various topics.

Magazines are typically published weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly. They are often printed in color on coated paper and are bound with a softcover. In a simple, we can say that ‘the better the visual narrative of the magazine, the more it will appeal to its specific audience’. The publisher’s purpose for a magazine is to give its advertisers a chance to share with its readers about their products.

Magazine Journalism

Magazine Journalism uses similar tools as traditional journalism tools used for gathering information, background research and writing to produce articles for consumer and trade magazines. The cover story is the beacon in any magazine. The cover page quite often carries stunning headlines to facilitate a compulsive buying of the magazine.

Brief history of Magazines

  • A person named Edward cave published the first English periodical magazine named Gentleman’s magazine founded in 1731. His publication contained everything from essays and poems to stories and political musings.
  • The first American magazine was Andrew Bradford’s American magazine and Benjamin Franklin’s General Magazine in 1741.
  • The first magazine for young girls, the young Misses Magazine appeared in 1806.
  • The first famous American women’s magazine, Godey’s Lady’s Book was published in 1830.
  • The first printed magazine in the Malayalam language – the Jnananikshepam – was published from Central Travancore in 1848.
  • Improvements in printing techniques by 1890 as well as the increased use of advertising made possible lower production costs for the magazines. This, in turn, caused a boom in their circulation.
  • Time Magazine came up in 1923, while Newsweek in 1933. The idea behind these magazines was to keep in touch with the fast-changing conditions around the world.
  • Vanitha is an Indian magazine launched in 1975 and published fortnightly by the Malayala Manorama group.
  • The 1980s saw a boom in the publication of the magazine in India not only English but in Indian languages as well.
  • The first breakthrough in the Indian magazine industry was made by Stardust which ended the old fan-magazine culture of film journalism.
  • The second breakthrough, India Today which covered politics and social trends and it was India’s first successful attempt at quality, up-market serious journalism.
  • Today, India has become a glorious storehouse of both general interest and specialized magazines which include Outlook, Frontline, Femina, Competition Success Review and Vanitha that have been quite successful in catching the attention and imagination of people.
  • Some of the popular weeklies in Malayalam such as Mangalam and Malayala Manorama have exceeded the million mark in circulation.
  • .The other major Malayalam periodicals include Mathrubhumi weekly, Madhyamam weekly, Kala Kaumudi, Dhanam, Samakalika Malayalam weekly, etc.
  • The best-known children magazine was Stnicholas.
  • And in the age of the Internet, most magazines are also printing its online version along with the printed form.

Types of Magazine

Today, there are thousands of magazines worldwide. They inspire, inform, educate and entertain audiences across the globe. Magazines are classified in terms of languages and the target audience’s interest. There are different genres of magazines. Each magazine has its own characteristics like some of the popular magazine provides a broad overview of the topics, scholarly journals provide about the depth analysis with research findings and similarly, trade magazines provide the details of industry trends and new products.

Some of the magazine’s categories are listed below with examples which will clear the whole concepts.

  1. General Interest Magazine : The main purpose of a general interest magazine is to provide information for the general audience. No background knowledge or expertise is assumed. Examples- Time, Newsweek, Outlook, India Today and The Week.
  2. Special Interest Magazine : This is directed at specific groups of readers with common interests. Example- Golf Digest carries only stories related to golf, Grihalekshmi, Vanitha, etc.
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Written by Web Jeevan

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