October 18, 2004

What Magazines Do You Like And Why?

A couple of magazine people have asked me recently about reworking some Daddy Types content for use in print (which I guess counts as progress; normally, magazines just have their people rip off your story).

Anyway, It's made me think about which magazines work and which don't; which ones I actually buy (our mailbox is too small to subscribe) and why, and which ones I read regularly at Barnes & Noble. I guess I'm wondering what you like so I can rip it off...

My favorite/cool/usually read mags or mag features:
- Artforum guest edited top ten list
- The full-page action photos at the front of ESPN Magazine
- That first part of Harper's where they republish stuff from other sources.
- The New Yorker.
- I should put a parenting magazine, but they all blow so hard...


Most guys only read "parenting magazines" in the waiting room of the OB and Pediatrician. Go main stream and try for something guys actually read. Men's Journal, Esquire and Sports Illustrated come to mind and are great magazines. Also, I hate to admit it but something like Maxim and FHM (while written for adolescent boys) probably have a large amount of daddy type readers, including myself. You could do some real funny pieces in those.

I've been digging Readymade (www.readymademag.com) magazine, even if it is a transparent attempt to make DYI "hip." After all you can hardly fault a publication which has a feature called the macgyver challenge.

I forgot, I read/buy Dwell, too. It feels realer than other house/arch. mags

I like the suggestion above about Men's Journal or Men's Health. It would be quite a departure for them - Kind of a "what to do 9 months after you've followed some of the other advice we've given...". Seriously though, it's probably where you'd hit people that might have a genuine interest and a comparable profile.

Here is my subscription list:

Travel & Leisure
Sports Illustrated
New Yorker
Real Simple
National Geographic
Scientific American
Sunday New York Times
Denver Post (local paper)

At Barnes & Noble, I read them all.

As far as I can tell, there is not a good general interest magazine for men ah la Oprah. Why don't you start one. Men's Journal is getting there, but it's still a little too much Outside meets Men's Health meets (outdoor) Stuff. Where's the music? Where's the finance? Where's the politics? Where's PJ O'Rourke?

For what it's worth, I understand magazine sales are way down while the number of titles is way up. Hmm, could that be because the niches are so targeted that no one wants to read any one magazine? As far as I can tell, I just want to read one article from each magazine, making me more of a Tattered Cover (local version of Barnes and Noble) magazine reader. Problem for the magazines - I don't buy them.

And, to add to it, I'm canceling most of those subscriptions listed above.

Just realized I went on a diatribe. Sorry about that.

Disclaimer: I am a mom, not a dad.

I felt like the money I spent on my Readymade subscription was a waste... recent issues have featured too many articles that were more DIY-mocking than DIY. It's fundamentally a good concept but I just don't feel like it is being successfully executed, at least not yet.

Remaining subscriptions:
- Budget Living (although their definition seems to be spending money I didn't realize I had on things I didn't realize I "needed")
- Martha Stewart Living (just about as far from FHM as you can get)
- The New Yorker (because I can't admit that I'm now a Connecticutter and this subscription validates and indulges my roots)

I also pick up an occasional copy of Martha Stewart's spin-off, Everyday Food, and I read In Style, People, and Time at my in-laws'. I don't read any parenting magazines, except for the free issues I got in the pregnancy pack from my OB, because in my experience they are SO VERY BAD. Instead, I read parenting weblogs.

Magazines are ideal reading material for the nursing mother, because if you drop one on your child's head when your one free hand is suddenly required (i.e. to change the channel because Full House is starting), they don't leave dents.

I forgot, too, that I buy and read Dwell, too.

I've tried to cut down on magazine subscriptions and at this point I only get Dwell, The New Yorker, the Sunday Times, and The Believer (part of the McSweeneys empire: www.believermag.com).

Magazines are my vice. My most recent subscription list is:

Entertainment Weekly (weekly stand-by)
National Geographic (love it when I read it, but it's never the first thing I grab off the coffee table)
Wired (sometimes I subscribe, sometimes not)
Stuff (bathroom reading - I got a free subscription online)
Maxim (bathroom reading)
ESPN The Magazine (I just cancelled)
Ready Made (last issue was weak but I still love it)

I usually buy at the news stand:
Dwell (perfect mix for me of cool stuff and ideas)
Cargo (bathroom reading)
Metropolitain Home (hit and miss)
Giant Robot (great quarterly)
Vanity Fair (sometimes)

My wife subscribes to:
Real Simple (I'll read things she dog-ears)
Brain Child (Momist parenting magazine that I don't read)

This of course doesn't include catalogs, local interest magazines or comic books. I realize it's way too many, but it's better than cigarettes.

- I'm sorry to see Nest magazine leave us. That leaves Dwell in the shelter catagory (I assume everyone else also lost interest in Wallpaper* years ago).

- Utne Reader is uneven, but has some great moments

- the Taunton's books are very Dad-friendly - especially Fine Woodworking and Fine Homebuilding. They have a new one 'Inspired Home' which is of more general interest. (This Old House, while a bit light for my taste, is a pretty good DIY read )

- New Scientist magazine (weekly) has lots of child/health related coverage -- they've covered the UK vaccination fiaso pretty well, for example

since some have mentioned newspapers, i'll throw out two must-read newsweeklies:

The Economist (https://www.economist.com/subscriptions/index.cfm)
Guardian Weekly

Just three, and all are subscriptions:

Cycle Sport
Los Angeles Times

Oops sorry, forgot the "why".

dwell: It's smart, leaves you wanting more in a good way, nice layout, witty (at times) and lots of gorgeous architecural and design eye candy.

Cycle Sport: I ride bicycles, I'm a pro euro cycling fan and it's the best IMHO in this niche category.

Los Angeles Times: I live in L.A. That should be enough.

My current subscriptions are heavily art based to indulge my long gone art career but I still want to know what is going on in the art world.

Art in America; easy art reading but usually more conservative.
Art Forum; great for the gallery ads to see who is moving and shaking but the articles are hard to read.
WIRED; the cutting edge of technology
This Old House; to indulge the home renovater that i will never have the time to be.

I like Dwell but it is so far from the way of could live that its depressing to think about it. Who can live that cleanly?

My wife gets Newsweek and sometimes The New Yorker which I peak at from time to time.

Then there is the Boston Globe for local news and the sports page.

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