Interests are the driving force in the modern media market. Niche audiences provide a regular cash flow to book publishers, newspapers, and TV shows alike. Why should magazines be any different?
While generally thought of as the epicenter of gossip (which in some cases are true), magazines tend to act as a longer, more in-depth newspaper with lesser publications (Media & Culture). With longer articles and more money spent, the content printed caters to a more specific audience. Generally, people think that the pictures are the driving force behind the sales of magazines. After a small (incredibly small) survey, whether or not the content of a magazine featured their hobbies and/or interests affected their choice of either pictures or articles.
(Due to some technical difficulties, the videos are posted through a link instead of being directly available to play. Click through to watch interviewee response.)
All of the above interviewees, whose names shall remain unpublished, stated what they were interested in for their reasons in whether pictures or content drew them into a magazine
Certain types of genres are more inclined to be article based. National Geographic, a scientific/global magazine, uses extraordinary pictures to draw a reader in, but the majority of the pages are filled with research, statistics, and interviews of scientists. Political magazines, such as Newsweek and the Harvard Political Review, focus debating and persuading readers to favor their political view point, using pictures as a reference of persons mentioned within the article, for the most part. These magazines are tailored with fewer photos to cater to their audience, which desires more of a learning experience about their favorite subjects.
Other genres in the magazine industry are more photography-based. Aside from actual photography magazines, many genres, like interior design, crafting, and, of course, fashion, fill their pages with well done pictures, with an article giving information on the pictures. In the case of fashion magazines, most notably Vogue, Elle, and Cosmopolitan, advertisement pictures and full paged photos of models dressed in expensive clothing make up for the meat of the entire magazine. Celebrity interest magazines, the most popular being People, revolve around the gossip and scandalous photos of famous figures, with the short articles diving into the seemingly unlikely claims that the headlines boast. Again, these magazines are tailored to a specific audience, which so happens to have interests that are primarily visually based.
Those in the general public constantly hear the defamation of magazines for their unhealthy portrayal of photoshopped women and the unrealistic standards they place on young girls to be completely flawless. While some of these allegations may be true, many studies have been performed and prove thus, most readers look to the magazines so that they might read an article and perhaps learn about a subject of interest.