Editor’s Diary: Tough Times For Magazines


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Some news from the world of women’s magazines in this week’s Editor’s Diary.

The Woman’s Weekly Fiction Special series is to cease publication in December.

Now you might think I’d be pleased to hear this. It’s a close competitor of the weekly “Friend” and the “Friend” Special. Surely it’s a good thing it won’t be publishing any more, right? All the more readers for us, you might think.

Well, I take no pleasure in the demise of a once-successful print title. These are tough times for magazines, and they’re getting tougher.

It’s been proved that new magazine launches reinvigorate the overall market, causing readership numbers to rise.

The downside of that is that closures inevitably shrink the audience.

Many of those who once bought the Woman’s Weekly Fiction Special will simply abandon magazines and turn to other forms of entertainment instead.

Competition is healthy. That’s why, at every “Friend” team meeting, we analyse what our competitors are producing. It keeps us on our toes, inspires new ideas and challenges us to do better.

Without it, we are all the poorer.

When we were researching the magazine’s 150th anniversary in 2019, I spent a lot of time in DC Thomson’s Archives Department.

It’s a fascinating place, and you could lose yourself for hours amongst its treasures!

One thing that really strikes you is the sheer number of magazine titles that have come and gone in the last 150 years. There are rows and rows and rows of publications that have failed to stand the test of time.

Thankfully for me, the “Friend” continues to succeed where so many others have failed. But none of us who love magazines can afford to be complacent.

I have said it before, but it’s worth repeating here: magazines live or die by sales.

If people don’t buy them in sufficient numbers, they will cease to be profitable and will close.

It is as simple — and as sad — as that.


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Angela Gilchrist

Angela is Editor-in-Chief of “The People’s Friend” magazine. Her passions include cats, Highland ponies, good books, vegetarian food and long walks in the Scottish countryside. Her favourite place to get away from it all is the magical Isle of Skye.