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Remake, Remodel

Remake, Remodel: Women's Magazines in the Digital Age

Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 208
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  • Book Info
    Remake, Remodel
    Book Description:

    What is a magazine? For decades, women's magazines were regularly published, print-bound guidebooks aimed at neatly defined segments of the female audience. Crisp pages, a well-composed visual aesthetic, an intimate tone, and a distinctive editorial voice were among the hallmarks of women's glossies up through the turn of this century. Yet amidst an era of convergent media technologies, participatory culture, and new demands from advertisers, questions about the identity of women's magazines have been cast up for reflection. Remake, Remodel: Women's Magazines in the Digital Age offers a unique glimpse inside the industry and reveals how executives and content creators are remaking their roles, their audiences, and their products at this critical historic juncture. Through in-depth interviews with women's magazine producers, an examination of hundreds of trade press reports, and in-person observations at industry summits, Brooke Erin Duffy chronicles a fascinating shift in print culture and technology from the magazine as object to the magazine as brand. She draws on these findings to contribute to timely debates about media producers' labor conditions, workplace hierarchies, and creative processes in light of transformed technologies and media economies.

    eISBN: 978-0-252-09522-1
    Subjects: Sociology, Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface and Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-xvi)
  4. INTRODUCTION: Questioning Media Identity in the Digital Age
    (pp. 1-20)

    In October 2011, as the news of Steve Jobs’s untimely death sent shock-waves through the internet and technology communities, French telecom entrepreneur Jean-Louis Constanza posted a short video clip on YouTube as a tribute to Apple’s exalted leader.¹ The opening scene, titled “This One Works,” featured Constanza’s one-year-old daughter playing with an iPad; the beguiled tot coos as the touchscreen responds to her every finger tap and swipe. In the following scene, “This One Does Not Work,” she replicates these tactile movements on a print edition of the women’s monthlyMarie Claire. After poking and prodding the glossy pages with...

  5. 1 Making the Magazine: Three Hundred Years in Print
    (pp. 21-36)

    What are women’s magazines?Their material attributes—sleek, glossy pages, vividly hued images, and consistent dimensions—no doubt distinguish them from other mediated forms of culture and communication. According to media scholar Lynda Dyson, magazines are carefully designed to meet the perceived needs of readers; for instance, the “feel of glossies connote[s] luxury and pleasure, despite the fact that their sale price is relatively low.” Dyson also explains that their size and portability presumably encourage leisure-time consumption and pass-along readership.¹ Of course, it would be technologically deterministic—not to mention myopic—to overlook the immaterial elements that define the magazine....

  6. 2 Transforming the Magazine: From Print to Bits
    (pp. 37-50)

    The massive tides of change churning through the early twenty-first-century media landscape have had a profound impact on the women’s magazine industry. But what exactly are these changes? To what extent can they be ascribed exclusively to digital innovations? Are they being felt evenly across the industry? And how have they created a perfect storm that has opened up the question of “What is a magazine?” Certainly, some of the salient industrial shifts—the movement to online production and distribution and the meteoric rise in free, immediate, and interactive channels for news and information—are largely due to the forces...

  7. 3 Production Tensions: New Positions, Routines, and Gender Roles
    (pp. 51-67)

    Joanna Coles, the fêted Hearst editor who was designated “Editor of the Year” byAdweekin 2011, commented during our interview, “One of the things that readers always want to know is what is it like to work at a magazine—what [are] the staff like?” It was partly such inquisitiveness about the women’s magazine profession that inspiredMarie Claireexecutives—including Coles, who served as the magazine’s editor-in-chief from 2006 to 2012—to launch the reality TV seriesRunning in Heelsin 2009. Broadcast on NBC Universal’s Style Network, the show centered on three young women interning atMarie...

  8. 4 Rethinking Readership: The Digital Challenge of Audience Construction
    (pp. 68-86)

    “Never Drink and Text.” This irreverent phrase was imprinted on an assortment of fuchsia-and-white-hued iPhone cases that were distributed to young women as part of Condé Nast’s “GenerationGlamour” branding campaign. Launched in the fall of 2012, the campaign targeted women in the so-called millennial generation, a highly coveted cohort that includes individuals born in or after 1980. Andy Spade, cofounder of the agency responsible for producingGlamour’s quarter-million-dollar campaign, offered his take on the millennial woman: “[She] is out there living in social media, influencing people with her opinions. . . . She shares her likes, she’s tweeting, she’s...

  9. 5 Inviting Audiences In: Interactive Consumers and Fashion Bloggers
    (pp. 87-113)

    In 2006, New York University professor and journalist Jay Rosen published a blog post titled “The People Formerly Known as the Audience,” which heralded the integration of consumer audiences into media production processes. Speaking on behalf of consumer citizens ostensibly empowered by twenty-first-century technologies, Rosen defied an imagined throng of media executives: “You don’t own the eyeballs. You don’t own the press, which is now divided into pro and amateur zones. You don’t control production on the new platform, which isn’t one-way.” Then, directly invoking the democratization rhetoric that frequently shapes convergence discourse, he continued, “There’s a new balance of...

  10. 6 Off the Page: Medium-Specific Approaches to Content
    (pp. 114-134)

    The cover story of the May 2009 issue ofPublishing Executive, a resource for magazine professionals involved in business management, print and e-media production, and audience development, featured an inaugural list of the “Top Women in Magazine Publishing.” One of the honorees, Dwell Media president and publisher Michela O’Connor Abrams, issued a clarion call to her publishing peers: “Publishing is platform agnostic. The sooner any publisher recognizes that they represent a content brand that serves a community, the better off they will be. No publisher should be without a cohesive online, mobile, event and print content strategy. . . ....

  11. Conclusion: Remaking the Magazine
    (pp. 135-144)

    This study of the women’s magazine industry was driven by a seemingly simple question: “What is a magazine?” Yet this question is in fact anything but simple, bound up as it is with pervasive concerns about the stakes of “new media,” broadly conceived, for the processes and products of contemporary culture industries. In mourning the ostensible demise of print culture, magazine journalist Virginia Heffernan eloquently captures the tension between traditional and emergent media forms and cultures.

    What is a magazine? . . . If you’re holding one, you can turn the page. But it’s very possible that you’re nowhere near...

  12. Notes
    (pp. 145-158)
  13. Bibliography
    (pp. 159-180)
  14. Index
    (pp. 181-190)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 191-192)