The Gloss of the Page

An argument for the printed word in glossy form

By Katrina YentchImage

If there’s one form of the printed press that I wish never dies, it is, without a doubt, the magazine. Of course, in a digital age, we see the bare survival of the printed press via…well, every online and social media vice that one can think of. Newspapers these days have Twitter accounts, Facebook, Tumblr, and even Reddit (online circulation of material is a necessity in this field). They have adjusted to accommodate the slowly growing Kindle/online book readers. In my journalism program, we even have a class specifically for journalism in “the digital age.” As practical and convenient as this may all be, I am still ardently devoted to print, especially when it comes to the magazine.

While newspapers get by on a digital spread of updates, magazines include a variety of topics that are too overwhelming to present on a computer at times. (Think of the neverending clickable links on Buzzfeed.) Is it, essentially, a monthly/weekly scrapbook, and that’s what I love about it. Magazines are a beautiful and unique collaboration of artists, photographers, and writers that work hand-in-hand to make each other look better. When I read a magazine, I find myself utilizing each and every aspect of the page to truly engage myself in what I’m reading. These pictures bring to life the topics I’m digesting and the texts vice versa. I’m first visualizing what I’m reading then seeing it for myself in the photos. These personalized yearbooks play with all my senses (minus smell, unless there’s a perfume sample included) in such a way that snatches my full attention.

Magazines are also incredibly unique. With each page and collaboration comes a design and format that was planned by one person who had to decide what looked best and where. I haven’t personally done something like this, but I can only imagine how difficult the process actually is. Again, this is a feature that can be communicated via technology, but try to imagine this: a graphic designer is sitting on the floor of her living room, white poster board in hands. A bowl of cereal sits somewhere in the distance from an earlier attempt to eat, only to be tossed aside once wrapped up in the project again. She is surrounded by photos and bodies of text at her feet. Her creative mission is to put the pieces together in such a way that engages and compliments the future magazine page. In addition, the page must entrance the lucky reader that will mentally scroll through it. It is an explosion of creativity that seeks the unique talents of multiple individuals. Each page is an illustration of each attempt and hopeful success at hand.

In addition, the magazine is a playground of pages for writers who share a common interest. This interest gets to be broadcasted to readers with that similar interest. The topics are not something that gets placed outside the human realm of attention, as one would do for an ad on a webpage. Rather, we get to indulge in a variety of writing styles about the things we love. There are multiple opinions and viewpoints that one would not get from simply reading one blog or book. Here, we read what writers either love or hate, and sometimes it is even about the same topic. (Think love its or hate its next to each other on movie review-type articles.) In regards to writing for a living, magazines are also a cheap way to support the dying career that we are grasping onto ever so desperately. As free writing becomes more readily available online, the paid writer’s salary shrinks faster than your jeans as you toss them in the dryer. Purchasing a magazine for less than five bucks helps writers reach out to you and the rest of the world. It keeps that collaboration going that I incessantly repeat.

Last but not least, let me reiterate the common argument that fans for the printed press like myself have exclaimed: it is wonderfully, “nostalgically (at this point it somewhat is)” tangible! It’s that plain, good ol’ feeling of turning the pages betwixt your fingers. It’s an un-describable satisfaction that psychological factors can most likely better explain than I can. It takes real to an off-the-screen level, and reminds you that there is plenty writing, photography and conversation outside the web at your fingers. The gloss of the magazine takes care in that you don’t suffer the horrible incident of the bothersome paper cut.

So long live the legend of the magazine, whether it lie in your local dentist office, the newspaper rack, or at the bottom of your bag on the way to the beach. A group of inventive minds thank you.

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