Do Magazines Matter?
In light of the very interesting announcement about Crisis below, here’s a question for the blog. Do magazines matter? Would it matter to you if Commonweal weren’t in print format anymore? And why?
I think there are two issues. One, the print form itself, and two, the process that goes into putting together an edited magazine. In the print form, the pressure to edit must come from the issue page limit, at least to some extent: there is a certain degree of selectivity, and demand to be concise, built in to the fact that a magazine issue can encompass only so many pages. That pressure, I assume, is gone from cyberpublication. But there is no inherent reason that a cyberpublication could not be subjected to the same rigorous standards as print.
As an author, where I write makes a difference to what I write; I think of the print form as more serious, and requiring more careful thought, than the blog form, which I view more as a conversation. I also think having editors is a good thing; they make what I write better. At the same time, I like what’s in print form to be online too, it gets a wider circulation that way.
Maybe the difference, then, is between an “online magazine” (like a regular magazine, but in cyberspace) and online blog ( like a conversation)?