How has the content of the traditional print magazine changed over time? Why have these changes been made?

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William Delaney | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Two of the most conspicuous changes in the content of print magazines have been the virtual disappearance of fiction and the tremendous increase in the use of all kinds of pictures, including photography. Fiction used to make up half the content in many magazines and virtually all the content in some magazines such as Redbook and Saturday Evening Post. The disappearance of fiction--even in the New Yorker--has been attributed to television. People prefer to get that sort of entertainment from television, and therefore many magazines have just gone out of business or switched over to articles. The increase in the use of all kinds of pictures is attributable to the simple fact that all kinds of technological improvements have made it easy to print pictures in black and white or in colors. Now half the content of some magazines, or more, consists of beautiful color photography. This is especially true of travel magazines and most women's magazines. So both the disappearance of fiction due to television and the increase in illustrations can be attributed to technology. And technology may someday do away with newspapers and magazines almost completely, because people are turning more and more to electronic transmission of words and pictures. With all the hand-held gadgets already available, there is less and less need for words or pictures printed on paper--and this electronic gadgetry is only in its infancy.


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