The Pledge to Change the Narrative in a Free-content Landscape

Vince Shuley is one of us. A true magazine fan since he was a kid browsing the newsstands, he now works as a photojournalist for some of the best adventure print publications in that niche.

“I was that kid who would linger at the newsstand and work my way through the special interest section, too broke to buy anything, and testing how many features I could read before the cranky shop owner would shoo me along,” Shuley writes in Pique. “When I did manifest enough money from my neighbourhood community newspaper deliveries, I would triumphantly return from the newsagent on a Sunday morning clutching the latest edition of Australian Mountain Bike. I would read the stapled magazine from cover to cover, inspect every photo dozens of times, I’d even read all the ads and parts catalogues.”

I think a lot of us fellow magazine lovers can relate; maybe it was Mad Magazine, or Tiger Beat, or one of the other print delights that elevated an ordinary day into excitement. Marvel comics anyone? 

For Shuley, being able to work in a medium that is so close to his heart has been exhilarating, and eye-opening as he’s seen the challenges for magazine publishers over the last several years as they push to convert free readers into paying customers

Shuley believes there are enough magazine lovers out there to make a well-crafted magazine with a solid business plan a viable entity, as print embraces its luxurious future.

“Much like how the declining movie theatre attendance has found a niche in luxury-style experience (big comfy chairs, food/alcohol service, none of which you’ll find at our humble cinema in Whistler), magazines have tried their hand at a premium product,” Shuley writes. “Printed on exceptional stock (a publisher’s fancy term for paper) with the highest quality of curated photography and carefully distilled stories, the coffee table book magazine is a symbol of the print industry’s tenacity.”

Of course, he recognizes the balance between subscription price, advertising and quality; it often takes significant trial and error to get the mix right. But when it works, it’s close to magic, for the publisher and the reader alike.

“So if you enjoy reading stories and appreciate photography (beyond scrolling to the next thing on your feed), join me in my pledge to maintain at least one active magazine subscription and actually take the time to read every edition,” Shuley continues. “It’s not cheap nor easy to justify spending money on ourselves for this sort of thing, so why not gift a year’s subscription to partners, friends and family members? You may just turn that person into a lifelong reader.”

Yep, he’s one of us. I’ll take that pledge. How about you?