Gerry Marzorati, editor of the New York Times Magazine, was recently spotted on a plane headed to Milan for a T magazine party, swearing under his breath as if he had Tourette's Syndrome. It's understandable-he's been working too hard. The man has his own magazine to worry about, and here he is trekking across the globe to celebrate the new magazines his paper keeps adding, like the the fashion-centric T. That's because print, despite being on the way out, still has its bright spots. Chief among them for the miserable newspaper industry: Sunday magazines.
It's a bad sign when these companies' core product (daily papers) is far less successful than a tangential spinoff product (magazines), but at this stage they'll take what they can get. New figures show that Sunday supplements recorded the biggest advertising gains of any sector in the entire media during the first quarter-almost a 20% increase, while newspaper advertising itself was down more than 6%.
The WSJ's new weekend magazine is on the way, and Murdoch-controlled paper is rumored to be planning as many as three more magazine titles, which makes sense when looking at the ad numbers above. The LA Times just went all the way with its Sunday magazine, turning the entire operation over to the business side of the paper and losing any pretense of editorial content. The success of that move remains to be seen, but stronger investment in weekend mags is a certainty until they prove themselves as dead as papers themselves.
Laid-off newspaper journalists, send in your applications today!