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The Evolution of Magazines


The German Erbauliche Monaths Unterredungen, published in 1663, was the first periodical that could be called a magazine. It was a literary and philosophical edition, and following its premiere, other journals with very similar contents and targeted for an intellectual audience were published. Thematically, it was somewhat limited, and it was mostly authored by one author. In the year 1672, French author Jean Donneau de Vize published Le Mercure Galant, which was similar to today's magazines (different themes and authors). This magazine concept was duplicated throughout Europe, and it incorporates topics from court events, drama, and literature.

Ladies Mercury, the first women's magazine, was published in London in 1693. Of fact, these publications were originally known as periodicals.


With the publication of the Gentleman's Magazine in 1731, the term "magazine" was coined. The word magazine comes from an Arabic word that means "warehouse," and was originally used to represent a location where huge quantities of varied items were deposited, while the comparison was used to describe a book that contained a wealth of important information for travelers and sailors. The magazine's success was considerable, but the costs of each issue were even higher. Because it was technically impossible to force a bigger amount of paper through the machine, printing costs were exorbitant, and the number of printed copies could not exceed a hundred thousand. Distribution was also a major issue due to the difficulty of transporting huge volumes of magazines over long distances. In the mid-nineteenth century, readers were no longer limited to the wealthy, and periodicals were made available to the middle class. For the early family periodicals, such as Dickens Household Words, this was the beginning. Throughout the nineteenth century, there were numerous initiatives to reduce the price of periodicals.


Up to 1853, the first advertisements appeared at this period, although not many because the ads were saddled with specific taxes. The number of adverts did not grow after the levy was repealed since many publishers avoided this sort of revenue (Readers Digest magazine did not publish ads until 1955). With the introduction of the rotary press in the late nineteenth century, the number of printed copies increased, and the price of the issue decreased, ushering in the century that would see the emergence of magazines as one of the world's main media. Magazines are growing more appealing to advertisers as a result of technical advancements, increased circulation, and more usage of visuals.


William Randolph Hearst, one of the most important icons in the world of publishing, arrived in the early twentieth century. He engaged in a brutal war for readers with his mentor, Joseph Pulitzer, as the owner of multiple newspapers across America. During the Cuban Revolution, Hearst and Pulitzer published photographs of tortured and starved Cuban troops in their newspapers. The term "yellow journalism" is used at this time to describe the sensationalist style of reporting on occurrences. Starting with the well-known Good Housekeeping, National Geographic, and Harper's Bazaar, Hearst expanded his business into magazine publishing. Other notable journals feature alongside Hearst's, including Conde Nast's Vogue, Vanity Fair, and Time, whose founder Henry Luce is still regarded as the most influential publisher in history. Despite the fact that Luce founded Time, he was not a visionary or a leader of the publication. Britton Hadden, a Yale colleague, was the one who came up with the idea for the first political weekly.


Hadden was the one who came up with the idea for a political news magazine, and as the editor of Time, he helped to shape the magazine's personality, win dedicated readers, and bring financial profit to the organization. Several well-known magazines, including Life, Sports Illustrated, and Money, will be published by the same business. Hadden influenced popular culture in such a unique way that he altered people's thinking and behavior patterns throughout the twentieth century. Unfortunately, he died young, at the age of 30, and his partner Henry Luce continued to establish Time magazine, eventually becoming the most powerful media magnate in the world. Fortune magazine, which emerged from Time's business pages, was published concurrently with the growth of Time. Fortune was regarded as the best and most influential publication in the United States. Fortune is notable for being the first high-quality printed magazine with full-color pages, in addition to being greatly inspired by the corporate sector. Fortune also pioneered photojournalism, which would become renowned thanks to Life magazine a few years later. However, due to rising printing costs, Fortune began to lose money, and in 1948, it was overhauled, both graphically and journalistically, to become a standard business magazine.


One person launched a magazine in post-World War II France that drastically revolutionized the way women thought, spoke, and perceived themselves. Helene Gordon Lazareff's Elle (French for "she") magazine was first published in 1945. The magazine Elle taught French women how to be attractive and kind on a weekly basis. The magazine's success was enormous, and many people identified with Helene and Elle, as did the readers — what was good for Helen was good for her readers. She had the ability to locate the perfect person at the right time and knew how to make a star out of anyone.


Helen pushed unknown designer Dior and his New Look in 1947, then unknown Brigitte Bardot on the cover in 1950, and in 1952 she hired Francoise Giroud, a feminist who eventually became the editor of the famous French political weekly L'Express. In 1958, she advocated for Coco Chanel's homecoming, despite the fact that the French press at the time was hostile to the famed Mademoiselle. In 1965, Elle championed designer Courreges' futuristic vision in white, and from week to week, Elle included Simone de Beauvoir, Marguerite Duras, Colette, and Françoise Dolto. In 1960, one out of every six French women read Elle, and the number of sold copies surpassed one million. Helene was the only editor in the history of publishing who had such a lasting impact on her magazine. When she departed the magazine in 1972, it had a circulation of about a million copies. Elle's circulation decreased to just 370,000 sold copies in 1988 when she died of Alzheimer's disease.


Some have anticipated the demise of magazines, much as they foretold the demise of newspapers in the 1990s, but neither newspapers or magazines have died. Printed publications will continue to exist, regardless of how popular tablet editions have become. The numbers will decrease, but they will never disappear. Although the iPad is a fantastic tool that opens up new possibilities in magazine production, it cannot replace the tactile sensation of holding paper in your hands. There's nothing like the smell of freshly printed pages. Printed publications will always be in demand. Our lives are shaped by magazines, which tell us what to dress, eat, and think about ourselves and the world around us. Despite the fact that we live in the Internet age, we still appreciate magazines and admire their pages, editorials, and headlines. Is there anything more relaxing than coming home from a long day at work, slipping into a pair of slippers, settling into a sofa, and reading a favorite magazine you just picked up at the local newsstand?

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