According to Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary a magazine is “a pamphlet published periodically containing miscellaneous paper”. Most people would probably agree with Webster’s explanation of what constitutes a magazine. However according to The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language a magazine can also be “a periodical containing a collection of articles, stories, pictures, or other features”.
During the recent years there have been attempts to recreate what constitutes a magazine and how it should be presented. Thanks to technological advancements magazine publishers are no longer restricted to only using one media. The idea of the magazine, which traditionally consists of bound pages with text and pictures, has been challenged to use other medias independently to express a point of view. By acknowledging the advantages and disadvantages of these medias such as print, web and video and combining their strengths may help to improve the delivery of information by ultimately enhancing a reader’s interactive experience.
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When talking about print publications there are many practical advantages such as its portability, it’s ability to function on it’s own without having to deal with memory or server issues, and it’s ability to allow readers to engage at a level of physical interactive-ness. The disadvantages include the inability to reach a global audience without spending large amounts of money on market research in order to ensure acceptability in an intended country. Each country’s audience may expect different styles or appeal due to differences in culture. As well the properties of paper do not allow printed magazines to survive very long under constant stress of mobility, the harsh repetitive flipping of pages and deterioration from conditions of weather such as UV sunlight and water.
Likewise with print, there are many advantages and disadvantages with webzines as well. This includes the ability to appeal more physically to the senses of motion and sound on a new level, to allow the content to be viewed on a global scale, and for magazine publishers not having to worry of costs of printing and distributing. However on the other hand, webzines are not as convenient as print magazines because they do not carry the function of versatility or mobility. Secondly, issues of resolution restrict designers to design with accuracy or detail using type and pictures. There is also the question of when depending on technology there is always the possibility of it failing.
Similar to print and webzines, video zones may cover different topics of interest related to art, design, politics, entertainment, the environment, social issues etc with a point of view through the use of motion graphics. Similar to webzines they also offer the ability to present motion and sound to engage viewers on a dynamic level. Also, in contrast to webzines, video zones do not rely on server space or a size of a file in order to be able to play. Because the majority of Americans spend a lot of time in front of a television set a video zone would an ideal means of sending information to viewers. The disadvantages of video zones are the lack of interactive-ness with the viewer.
Currently there are magazines that are crossing borders between the different medias. Magazines that were once strictly in print are testing out the web. Printed magazines are also including DVDs. As a result, magazines are taking on different shapes and forms through this evolution. Although, there is yet to be a magazine that chooses to take advantage of all three medias that require all their strengths to build the ultimate experience for people to watch, read, interact with and enjoy.
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