Is print out of fashion?

Arts & Culture, Fashion, Technology — By on March 20, 2013 7:19 PM



It’s  impossible to deny that the journalism world is changing.

Traditional fashion jobs are few and far between due to the speed at which we now consume information.

The concept of a diminishing print industry has been a much discussed topic in recent years, and recently, all print media – including fashion magazines – have begun to feel the pressure from of online publication, such as blogging.

The online medium allows to-the-minute access to information about the ever-changing fashion industry, taking an advantage over traditional forms of news.

Reality hit the Australian fashion magazine industry recently when Grazia was withdrawn from publication by its German publishing house Bauer Media due to poor circulation reports.

Ellie Packer, features writer and sub-editor for Shop Til You Drop magazine, pointed to the internet as the cause of this recent withdrawal.

Grazia ’s loss of press in Australia is a result of the extreme popularity the Internet has presented, in particular fashion blogs which produce the same content as our magazines, but at a faster pace and a more accessible avenue,” Packer said.

“Magazines are battling against a migration of their readers to the Internet, and are competing in a fractured media production where all sectors of the industry are trying to maintain their audiences against the war from the web.”

Bauer Media Chief Executive Matthew Stanton told The Australian that all 13 weekly magazines at Bauer Media have posted year on year sales falls for the three months to December.

While Grazia was the worst performer, Cleo and Cosmopolitan (which also target women aged between 18 and 30)  are similarlunder pressure due to this shift to online media.

Cleo  was down 23.6 per cent, and Cosmopolitan was down 16.2 per cent,” Mr Stanton said

“These magazines were affected by a dramatic change in reading and consumption habits of their target audiences being young Australian women, leading to this loss in sales.”

Stanton also highlighted that Bauer Media’s biggest and most popular magazine per issue was The Australian Women’s Weekly, with a target demographic of women aged 25-54.

“They held sales at a steady average of 470,331 copies a month, with a readership of slightly more than two million being our most successful publication at the moment,” he said

Anita Camporeale, a loyal reader of the Australian Women’s Weekly, said that the recent circulation figures from Bauer Media prove that it all comes down to the currency and content of these typesmagazines that sets them apart.

Women’s Weekly thrives on the importance of political feature articles, whether  it  about women’s employment in different countries, or the latest feminist protest, all stories are hard news, current,  and are delivered monthly to their readers,” she said

Camporeale also added that Grazia, a weekly magazine, highlighted that the younger readership wanted access to information much more frequently.

“Fashion should be dealt with the same importance as current affairs,” she said.

“The same way we require up to date current affairs news every night, we also want our fashion news to be current as well, and while the magazines aren’t providing it, there are other mediums that are.”

The phenomenon of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are helping bloggers filter instant information out to the wider community to grow and advance, allowing them to carve their way into the journalism business through social media.

The evidence of the shift from print to digital media reiterates the power bloggers have today.

Well-known fashion blog The Man Repeller was established by Leandra Medine in 2010

In 2012, Medine told The Business of Fashion that her blog receives over 2.6 million page views per month.

The 2012 Bauer Media circulation report of Australia’s leading women’s lifestyle magazine, The Australian Women’s Weekly showed that they have an average monthly readership of only 171, 750.

These figures prove that it is the fashion blogs that are generating the majority of the traffic.

Lucy Amon, director and editor of fashion blog My Manifest said the reason why blogs have become so popular is not only because they are free to access, but also because they understand modern societies have a hunger for instant knowledge.

“By the time a magazine goes to print, it’s not only yesterday’s news, but it’s last hours news, proving that we live in a fast pace society where people want instant and new information constantly,” she said.

“In terms of fashion, bloggers also bring street fashion to the forefront by taking the head to toe, perfect magazine looks and providinga youthful spin of real women wearing affordable looks instead.”

Generation Y are known by many as the ‘blogging generation’ and are also recognised as being highly  entrepreneurial.

They have identified change in the way news is reported and have successfully adapted to it.

This evolution in fashion reading habits, as Stanton mentioned, has arguably been sparked by the thousands of bloggers today who are posting news daily on the web, targeting younger readers, and sitting in the thrones once provided for the upper class journalists exclusively.

This trend that is transforming the media industry has forced the University of South Australia’s Journalism course to evolve and understand that news does not  end but continues in a new format.

Fourth year Journalism and Creative Writing and Communication student at the University of South Australia Coralie Redden is overwhelmed by Grazia magazines recent closure.

“It’s a little daunting that magazines are closing up shop, especially as that is the career that I want to essentially get into after I graduate,” Redden said

“It does mean however, that online is going to be that much bigger and there are jobs in online publications, so long as I can still write, I’ll be happy.”

Redden also mentions that she isn’t worried about the future of fashion magazines potentially being taken over by fashion bloggers.

“As a fashion blogger myself I am trying to get into that modern twist of things, where everything is done online, and I think the universities are on the ball with recognizing that print media is changing and offers alternatives.

“There really is nothing we can do to prevent, or hold up the process of print media being ‘weeded’ out, we just have to accept the change and evolve,” she said.

The challenge is on for print media to advance, before it loses itself to various blogs around the world.

Let the evolution begin.

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