Enough of the Mean Girls Mentality around Magazine Brands

“Not every brand within any industry will have a growth story. I get that magazines close. Yet, when Saab and Saturn disappeared, no one reported the end of cars. In recent years, people flocked from MySpace to Facebook, Vine shuttered, and just this week, Snapchat announced that daily active users shrank to 188 million this quarter, down from 191 million. Is this the beginning of the end for social media? Of course not.”

That insightful comment was recently made by the MPA’s Linda Thomas Brooks on LinkedIn. In her article, she makes some excellent points about the state of print, the misuse of data, and the rush to denounce print media today.

Thomas Brooks cites a reporter who recently wrote about print advertising’s decline, selectively using facts to bolster the point that “print advertising is down.” 

“In the aforementioned article, the reporter used Pfizer as the prime example of an advertiser spending less in print,” Thomas Brooks explains. “By focusing on only one number, she failed to paint a complete picture. Pfizer’s spending overall decreased, and specifically it decreased expenditures in 10 out of 13 measured media channels. While their spending in print did indeed decrease, it decreased less than all but one other channel. So the story here is not that Pfizer decreased print spending, the company decreased advertising spending overall with print suffering among the least.”

We’ve seen it before; some editor gets a narrative in their head, and sends the reporter off to write the story that supports that point of view. Instead, wouldn’t it be great if they dug a little deeper to really understand what the data is telling them?

As Thomas Brooks notes, there’s a bit of a “mean girls” attitude toward print out there, and the industry is playing a dangerous game

“The idea of trashing someone else to make yourself look better is as old as junior high school, yet it continues in many businesses, including the media business,” she writes. “Why, as an industry, do we perpetuate the ‘demise of print’ discourse? And why can’t we embrace the evolution of magazine media in its many forms?”

As Thomas Brooks explains, she’s not expecting every story to be positive, “but I do expect every story to be based in fact and tell a complete story without carelessly echoing what the last guy said. I am certain that I am not the only person who is tired of this lemming mentality.”

Not by a long shot. And nice work on stating so clearly what needs to be said.