“The substance of the content of magazines has always been important. Each letter of each word formed matters. And when you string those letters together to make words, you then begin to create sentences, followed subsequently by paragraphs, followed by…well; you see where I’m going with this,” muses Samir “Mr. Magazine” Husni in his blog.
Husni recently dug through his personal vault of vintage magazines and was struck by the editorial substance of some of the most popular magazines back in the day.
“McCall’s has always been known for its extremely staunch commitment to service in the women’s category. From the Eleanor Roosevelt column entitled ‘If You Ask Me,’ which the former first lady wrote from 1949 until her death in 1962, to the Betsy McCall paper dolls that were printed from 1951 to 1995, and were available in most issues for children to cut out, McCall’s created content that was both service-oriented and engagingly entertaining,” he writes.
“The articles featured were often different from the norm, but still considered service as the content believed in its audience, and knew that women were interested in far more than just how to sew and cook, albeit those were valued topics as well,” Husni continues. “In the 1940s and 1950s, it featured many articles that covered subject matter that was also substantive and varied. For example, the January 1951 cover story written by Doris Fleeson ‘Washington’s Ten Most Powerful Women,’ was written at a time when most women only had power through men and the article stated as much. In fact, the byline in part reads: but the cold fact is that NO woman has power except through a man, quite a compelling and strong sentiment, especially for the era.”
It’s a short read, and at the end, Husni poses this intriguing question for today’s publishers: “Do you really know the content of your content?”
What would you answer?