At the top of their game

Generally, I’m not a big fan of lists (even in blogs, though I have succumbed from time to time). But This Recording recently posted one list worth reading closely.

They set out to chronicle the “15 best print magazine runs of all time” (ambitious enough), but in many cases they limited it to the years when their favorite magazines were truly at the top of their games.

The choices they make include perennials (The New Yorker, Time and Esquire, among others) as well as departed icons like Life, Sassy and Spy. Each magazine is written up in a loving, honest and accurate snapshot of an era. Including two magazines I’ve worked for doesn’t hurt their appeal.

One thing that struck me, and perhaps this was their intent: great things don’t last. All of the magazines on their list had a prime, and while a handful persist, it’s hard to argue that the survivors are as great as they once were.

If that’s our media reality, I am increasingly comfortable with it. New tools, new channels, new markets, new ideas: these all pose challenges, but they open the door to new opportunities, as well.

The current environment makes me wish I were just starting out in publishing. Then again, maybe I am.

About Brian O'Leary

Founder and principal of Magellan Media Consulting, Brian O’Leary helps enterprises with media and publishing components capitalize on the power of content. A veteran of more than 30 years in the publishing industry and a prolific content producer himself, Brian leverages the breadth and depth of his experience to deliver innovative content solutions.

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