Magazines Are Just Retail Storefronts NowS

Fashion magazines have never taken seriously the idea of a "Chinese Wall" separating advertising and editorial. That's not their thing. Their thing is fashion! Still. Much like kids these days, fashion magazines are selling out more spectacularly than ever.

"But media is a business blah blah blah!" say people who never really "got" the whole idea of "journalism" in a magazine and who also work as executives at major publishing companies, today. When you combine the fact that print is dying with the standard backscratching Free Samples 'n Blowjobs for Advertisers culture of shopping and fashion magazines, you get this: magazines are now essentially just glossy advertisements for their own in-house retail operations. Selling readers designer suits, that's where the real money in media is!

Eric Wilson has an illuminating rundown of alllll the fashion magazines that are now either launching their own retail operations, or teaming up with existing retailers to sell items featured int the magazines—an obvious business spinoff in days of declining print advertising, and an equally obvious temptation towards ever huger editorial conflicts of interest.

The magazines typically get a small portion of sales, or a fee for the number of shoppers they send to the e-commerce sites.

"What magazines have always done is to create desire in consumers," said [Esquire editor David] Granger. "The next logical step is to fulfill that desire by selling the product. If we don't do it, somebody else is going to"

Editorial copy is advertising copy now. They are one and the same! Not in some crappy fly-by-night handouts, but in many of America's most prestigious magazines.

Don't worry, though. The corrupt fashion editorial content would never corrupt the other editorial content.

[NYT]