special interest magazines

special interest magazines
   A visit to any large newsagent’s in Britain (such as W.H.Smith or John Menzies) will show the amount of material available for Britain’s voracious reading public. The following magazines (with their circulations) give an indication of the range of interests of the population at large: Yachting Monthly (32,306); Practical Woodworking (22,729); BBC Gardener’s World (314,759); What Hi Fi? (64,460); Motorcycle News (135,031); Autocar (73,921); Practical Photography (64,680); Horse and Hound (68,738); Golf Monthly (72,629); The Face (71,007); and TV and Satellite Week (184,750). These magazines are usually arrayed along a single wall and displayed under headings such as DIY, Gardening, Health, Home Computing, Photography, Sport, Pop Music, Television and Satellite and so on. The profusion and variety are persuasive; people stand and browse before purchase.
   Special interest magazines may be divided into those which are for a targeted range of trades or professions (Accountancy Age, Campaign, The Grocer), those under the classification of general interest but which are mainly for the professional classes (The Economist, Spectator, Investor’s Chronicle, Newsweek, Time), and the rest which are specialized in terms of their sport or leisure interest (Shoot, Golf Monthly, PC Review). Because they are essential reading for practitioners in their fields, many trade and professional magazines tend to be expensive and are taken on subscription by, for example, architectural or law practices. News reports on television and radio are occasionally abstracted from journals such as Nature or the Lancet, but by and large this group of magazines is not read outside its narrow milieu, although the cult television programme Have I Got News For You spoofs this type of magazine, by reading it out of context. General interest magazines are used by busy professionals to replace rather than supplement television and radio news. Their content is topical, and they are designed to supply in shorthand form an informed briefing on current affairs, politics and business.
   The third category above contains the magazines read with most enthusiasm. Statistics on job satisfaction in Britain show a disgruntled workforce, who get along by focusing on their interests outside work. They fantasize about fishing or model railways, and these magazines supply them with a means of both following their hobby, and escaping from their work.
   Further reading
    McCracken, E. (1993) Decoding Women’s Magazines: From Mademoiselle to Ms, London: Macmillan.
    Ohmann, R. (1996) Selling Culture: Magazines, Markets, and Class at the Turn of the Century, London: Verso.

Encyclopedia of contemporary British culture . . 2014.

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