Tuesday, May 20, 2008

No Time for Wal-Mart?

Perusing Wal-Mart's magazine aisle tonight, I noticed Hot Rod, Hot Rodder, Street Rodder, and about two dozen other car magazines not having anything to do with rods, hot or otherwise.

But did I see Newsweek or another news periodical?

In the checkout you'll find People, Teen People, TV Guide, some mags about soap operas and country music. Plus those who need no last names, Martha, Oprah.

Still no Time?

I'm sure Wal-Mart has plenty of marketing data that shows which magazines sell, and specifically which celebrity-driven rags sell in the checkout aisle. I can't fault them for making money. That's their business.

I didn't expect National Review or the New Yorker, but no Newsweek?

I know news is my business, but even if I weren't on TV I'd still be reading some sort of newsmagazine. And I know the internet has changed the landscape. But the people who aren't reading newsmagazines aren't reading blogs and aren't watching TV news.

Those who watch me on the local news generally read their local paper and check a site like cnn.com. I don't mind when someone doesn't know who I am if they watch another news program. But when they tell me they don't follow the news... then I understand why voter turnout is 25%.


colleen said...

Walmart is going green. Here is an article on the magazine cut. http://www.foliomag.com/2008/why-wal-mart-cut-1-000-magazines

Seems odd to me but what do I know, I still like to read magazines. Prefer not to read them online. Newspaper are already going by the wayside. The Star Tribune in Minneapolis is hurting big time right now and St. Paul is not doing much better.

Flabbyironman said...

I'm probably closer to your side of the argument. I think it's surprising that WalMart wouldn't have Newsweek. At the same time, in an evolving news world, does something like Newsweek still fill a niche?

Newsweek is a weekly so it can't respond to news as quickly as another media source. Unless it's doing in depth features, any news it's covered has probably been covered elsewhere and there are plenty of other sources for in-depth analysis. Even if it's producing a quality product, it's only going to get harder and harder to be heard above the din of every other voice crying out for attention.

I know I spend more time reading various pundits and listening to talk radio than I do in any of my magazine stacks. It just seems like a format that is headed towards obsolescence. That's not to say that I don't still enjoy reading Wired and Portfolio (two periodicals I read almost every page of each month), but I think both of those magazines offer depth in their fields that Newsweek doesn't.