Jane Bruton, Editor in Chief of Grazia, is quoted in the Guardian today talking about bloggers. It pretty much amounts to a feature on ‘why magazines are better’ and a few side-swipes at blogging such as saying the magazine is still streets ahead of the internet in crafting stories and adding tone and opinion to target specific markets such as the Grazia girl. Now, I am very well aware that being quoted may not exactly resemble what you said in a newspaper, but taking it at face value – and it is in the Guardian – I don’t like her tone.
I will always, and have always, raised a hand for bloggers, even right back in the day when the editors were beside themselves with outrage that bloggers were being offered front-row seats at fashion week. The writer part of me wanted to join them, the blogger part of me just couldn’t. JB’s assertion that “it seems to me.. that there has been a bit of a resurgence and the fashion blogger thing has tapered off a bit.. “So, what *thing* would that be, exactly? Just grouping bloggers together and calling them a *thing* is so derogatory and actually, the blogger *thing* hasn’t tapered off a bit – but what is happening is that the cream is rising – and those are the ones that are taking the traditional print readers.
“You can’t read an Ipad in the bath” is another reason why mags are here to stay, apparently. Well, hate to break the news that Ipad covers come with stands so you can put it on the sink or on a stand next to you and read it from there – or watch movies – or listen to music or any of the million other things you can do on an Ipad.. and last I heard, magazines weren’t waterproof either.
However, as blog stats rise, Grazia circulation falls. Explain. Explain why, if bloggers are merely a *thing* that nobody is terribly interested in any more how the stats and circulation *thing* pans out.
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I honestly cannot bear it when print is actively aggressive towards on-line. It’s not fair and it’s disingenuous because let’s face it, magazines are the first to juice blogger stats (i.e. run competitions etc in the hopes that their own on-line stats will rise with every voting click) and bloggers don’t do that to magazines or on-line sites.
We can work together – it is even possible that magazines can learn a thing or two from bloggers as we will see – but a patronizing trashing isn’t the way forward. It’s not, as suggested by JB, that magazines are being offered all the exclusives – if PRs and brands want something seeding quickly, they can’t go to something that’s not coming out for weeks later. My blog and others are living proof of that.
Interestingly, here are some quotes from JB in 2009 from the FIPP World Magazine Conference about the fact that reporters from Grazia were tweeting live updates from fashion shows.
“We can talk to our readers on a minute-by-minute basis. We get instant feedback if we want to test out a story for our magazine – we can go online, we can go on Twitter.” “
“Our fashion teams now – rather than sitting and taking notes – they’re Twittering from the front row, they’re running to the car, typing up instant web reports.”
“The readers love it because they’re seeing everything through our eyes.”
“They [readers] feel involved, feel closer to the brand and feel closer to us as personalities. We’ve never been afraid of exposing the inner workings of the magazine.”
“In the current climate the fact that people relate to our personalities and trust our brand is really crucial.”
Every single point above is what bloggers do and do so well. Each and every point could just as equally be applied to the reasons why women (and men) everywhere click for now news and don’t wait til it’s old news. Magazines have learned from the on-line world, but damned if they’ll admit it.
Nobody wants to see print disappear.. I shudder to think if another magazine closes how many more brilliant writers get thrown into the already overflowing ‘freelance’ pool. But, belittling comments about a community and genre that’s rising isn’t going to help anyone.
What magazines forget is that we’ve completely changed how we read – and I mean physically. The days of being able to wade through a three page feature for me is long gone – I want quick information in a short format that I can digest at speed. That’s not unintelligent, it’s just how it is today – we’re piling info on top of info into our brains and can take it only so much at a time. Once you start reading on line, reading in print just isn’t the same; your just brain works differently if on-line takes over.
And I’d totally not make the assertion that only journalists can ‘craft’ stories – not true. I’m both, journalist and blogger and I can see that JB is protecting her trade. I get it.. it’s a very, very worrying time and it’s commendable that she’ll stand up and be counted as trying to protect jobs and an industry that’s struggling. But, there are ways and ways, and in my view, that was the wrong way.
You can read the Guardian feature HERE.
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