Glossies Go High-Tech

By Kirsten Acuna

Magazines are set to go digital this summer

Junior magazine journalism major Alyssa Grossman remembers with guilt one of her duties as a summer  intern at M magazine: throwing out unsold issues. “There were piles upon piles…it’s a terrible feeling to be throwing out that much paper,” Grossman said. “[But] as a magazine major, I hope that my work would be more appreciated in print form.”

The five major magazine publishers don’t seem as hopeful as Grossman. This summer, Time Inc., Conde Nast, Meredith, Hearst, and News Corporation plan to release digital versions of their publications to an e-reader with Internet access. With just a touch of the screen, an issue of Sports Illustrated will come to life with sound and moving images.

The e-reader provides several advantages that print does not. The digital version  provides a wider selection of pictures. Readers can also link to related information or other articles of possible interest. If readers want to share an article or picture, they can instantly e-mail them with the click of a button.

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Some magazines already offer different versions of their publications online. Popular Science offers a quarterly interactive version of its magazine featuring moving text, images, and clickable videos.

Ali Mierzejewski, a sophomore magazine journalism major, likes the interactive features digital magazines offer.

“It has that blog feel to it where you’re getting a whole bunch of media at once,” Mierzejewski said.

Grossman prefers print over digital magazines because, “certain things lose their meaning when they’re put into a different form.” Grossman also prefers print because she can, “cut out articles and pictures and put them on my wall.”

Ghislaine Leon, senior marketing and retail management major, is wary of the change.

“I spend the whole day looking at an LCD screen,” Leon said. “I wouldn’t want to go home and stare at a screen even more.”

Despite apprehensions, the move from print to digital doesn’t seem to be slowing down. In January, readers could buy an issue of GQ through the iPhone for $2.99. Hearst Corporation, which owns magazines such as O and Esquire, plans to put out their own e-reader later this year.

Grossman believes digital magazines can work if publications correctly utilize the technology available to them.

“The Internet as a whole is great for magazines,” Grossman said. “However, it should be a compliment to print magazines, not a replacement.”

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