MTM7 the final day: “A prolific time for magazine studies”

By Charlotte Albutt and Mary Hogarth

The final day kicked off with a debate among our talking circle with experts and academics from across the globe ready to talk about their favourite topic – magazines.

“Today is a prolific time for magazine studies,” said conference founder Tim Holmes, who started the talking circle with a few special announcements.

He congratulated those committee members and delegates who have published books during the past two years.

Texts included Transforming Magazines, edited by Tim and Dr Carla Rodrigues Cardsos, a curation of papers presented at the previous conference.

“It really is the year of magazine studies,” echoed Carla, who announced opening the first-ever research lab dedicated to magazine studies, The Mag Lab.

The new lab will form a significant research centre with transnational input and link to the conference.

Last but not least was the big question where will Mapping the Magazine 8 be held? Carla was also delighted to reveal that she will host the next event in 2024 at the University of Lisbon in Portugal.

A round-up from magazines and content

Panel four kicked off with Nur Zeynep Kuruk Ercetin from Boğaziçi University in Turkey, who explored A moment of transformation: Tracing the ‘modern’ Turkish family in Aile magazine through its translated content. This was followed by Rita Gracio Lusofona, from Lusófona University, who discussed peripheral poetry periodicals.

Rita presented insights into poet editors and contributors using magazines to showcase their work, which prompted a discussion on collaboration opportunities between poets and artists.

Carla Rodrigues Cardoso, Teresa Mendes Flores, Orlando Franco, Alexandra Barradas and Rute Muchacho from Lusófona University in Portugal completed the line-up talking about pedagogy. Their presentation on using magazines as multilevel pedagogical tools took the panel back to the classroom, showing the work and opinions of student journalists.

The final MTM panel began with a presentation by Sheila Webb from Western Washington University.

Her paper, Bon Appetite: a legacy food magazine as a site of social reckoning, explored two key themes: authenticity and appropriation. She delved into the language used by Bon Appetite and the structure of features which could be classed as appropriating cultures.

Presentations culminated with a talk from research partners Patrick Johnson, University of Iowa, and Bobbie Foster, University of Maryland, who analysed the magazine Fangoria. Their paper was called they grow up and start dying: The construction of cultural authority and journalism boundaries through detachment/attachment in Fangoria.

Ending on a “Happy” note

A special guest appearance from The Bumbling Mixologist bought the two-day event to a close with Happy Hour and a lesson on making MTM’s new signature cocktail, Glossy Covers.

While sipping cocktails, presenters and committee members shared their favourite magazines and explained their significance.

Conference round-up – redefining the magazine

by Mary Hogarth and Charlotte Albutt

MAGAZINE experts and academics from across the globe reunited over their laptop screens for the much anticipated Mapping the Magazine 7 hosted by Drake University.

 “This is where old friends meet,” said conference founder Tim Holmes acknowledging the chorus of hellos and the how have you been.

This year’s host, Dr Catherine Staub, dean of the SJMC faculty at Drake University, welcomed the audience before introducing our keynote speaker, Professor Charles Whitaker, dean of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.  

Professor Whitaker discussed overcoming the existential crisis of the modern magazine, exploring the changing definition of magazines in our growing digital age. He addressed how consumers can confuse online platforms for the magazine brand, leading him to re-evaluate his definition of a magazine.

“My new definition of a magazine is a magazine consists of curated and highly identifiable content, distributed on multiple platforms to an audience that is attracted to the ‘branded’ messaging.”

Professor Whitaker

His keynote set the scene for the first panel, magazines and history, with presentations which explored how magazines have framed historical events.

Dr Kevin Lerner, Assistant Professor of Communication/Journalism at Marist College, examined the merit of The New York Times devoting entire issues to prominent stories. His presentation was followed by Professor David Sumner of Ball State University, who spoke about the expansion of interest and popularization of content in American magazines within the 20th Century.

The panel culminated with a talk from Assistant Professor Sonia Lamy and Dr Carla Rodrigues Cardsos, who discussed the JMK’s case in paper and digital Portuguese news magazines.

Magazine and readers

“Magazines focus on building communities, but to survive, it needs its readers,” said panel moderator Dr Carla Rodrigues Cardsos, course director at Lusófana University.

Mary Hogarth from Bournemouth University explored how Country Walking Magazine is thriving post-pandemic, having built a ‘community’ of nearly 40,000 print and digital subscribers. One point she made reinforced that “print isn’t dead. Magazines just need to get the model right”.

Talita Magnolo, from Universidade Federal de Juiz de Fora, Brazil, discussed The magazine Intervalo: 1964 commemorative edition and the strengthening of the relationship.

Her presentation was followed by Dr Jennie Watts, AUT New Zealand, who explored Expression of profession: an analysis of testimonials endorsing Architecture NZ magazine in a crisis, further delving into the relationship between readers and magazines.

Emerging trends and steadfast practices

The final panel began with a talk from Aileen Gallagher, Syracuse University and Professor Sharon Bloyd-Peshkin, from Columbia College. They shared their research which assessed 41 videos to answer the question: is branded content embracing solutions journalism?

Then the topic turned to fashion with Associate Professor Rebecca Johinke, Sydney University exploring Consumption and the convergence of reading and shopping: Net-a-Porter’s Porter magazine as an augmented delivery technology.

The panel ended with Simphiwe Mpho Zondani, Varsity College, South Africa, exploring the effects of covid-19 on the magazine industry. His presentation, Beyond narratives of precarity and closure: Mapping new lines of flight for the South African magazine, examined the impact of COVID-19 on South African magazines.