Bow Ties Sydney, Australia - Le Noeud Papillon - Specialists In Self Tying Bow Ties


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Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Internet Is The Enemy Of Newspapers And Magazines So Says Crikey

I read an article the other day on the demise of newspapers and magazines,  in which the website Crikey (click here) explained that " For every dollar they lose in newspaper advertising they gain less than 10 cents in online advertising. In the US last year, daily newspapers lost $1.50 in print advertising for every 10 cents they gained online, according to the latest State of the Media reportfrom the Pew Research Centre". 

The article went on to say:

"The internet is at heart a niche medium. Even large websites, including social media sites, are built around small communities of interest and individual preferences. This is the antithesis of the newspaper “bundle”, a brilliant concept when it was created 400 years ago after the invention of movable type and the printing press, and then refined over the past century into a grand money-making, power-generating machine."

This article amused me very much. I for one don't want to see quality journalism lost in newspapers and magazines but I have to admit, it is time for the publications to listen up. 

Since I began writing my blog in 2009 I have used the internet to find and listen to some of the most interesting people in men's fashion. Before the era of the blog we were forced to consume the most mundane articles on men's fashion in magazines such as GQ Australia with boring subject matters and editorial content which only covered those brands that paid for regular advertising. I cannot recall ever reading an in depth analysis of any area of men's fashion, from garment manufacturing to textiles weaving that ever once turned me on or piqued my interest. In the last four years the best journalism and the most interesting aspects of men's fashion has specifically come from the internet. Whether it be reading The English Cut, Made By Hand, A Suitable Wardrobe, The Black Tie Guide, What Is James Wearing, Guerreisms, StreetFsn, Keikari, Permanent Style, Eric Musgrave, The Shoe Snob, or The Dandy Portraits, the most interesting content has been generated by individuals with a new voice and a new point of difference who ordinarily would never have been picked up by regular magazines. The very fact that the internet has given these writers and photo journalists a chance to make themselves heard is something which magazines and newspapers should have reacted to faster rather than relying on the existing means by which they wrote articles. 

My advice to Australian magazines on the topic of menswear is therefore the following:

1. Employ writers who keep digging into topics which they enjoy writing on. If they are writing a shoe blog, get them to write a feature piece on shoes.
2. Write about people /companies that make something themselves. Don't focus on companies that send a vector graphics drawing to China/India/Pakistan and then receive a container load 4 months later. This is not interesting to readers because it is the same model that too many companies are using.
3. Find a way to reward your newsletter readers by doing clever email marketing in conjunction with artisans, sponsors and advertising companies which are vibrant, entertaining and most importantly, rewarding.
4. Try to lift your local talent. As W H Auden once wrote "a poet's hope, to be like some valley cheese, made local, prized elsewhere'. This is no different to a man in Broken Hill making riding boots or a saddle maker in the Kangaroo Valley. We should reward those people in Australia that endeavour to make something in this country against all odds of wage levels and raw material costs.
5. Go to the source and educate consumers from the mill/loom/workroom right to the front line of consumer fashion. If you are asking us to pay $5000 for a suit, explain to us what is in the wool, where it was made, how it was assembled, what the key design differences are and why it is original and authentic. 
6. Don't be afraid to expose people. Often people in fashion, myself included, sometimes want to cut corners here or there. If it happens, companies should be made to account for the difference in quality, production technique, material inputs. 
7. Interview people regardless of whether they have any advertising dollars. Some of the most fascinating articles we have written on our own blog are written without any financial consideration taking place nor products being gifted. Whether it be a fashion house from Turkey, a shoe maker in Verona or a costume designer in the USA, these people all have very interesting stories to tell and people want to hear from them regardless of whether they can take a full page spread in your printed issue or a skyscaper add on your e-magazine.
8. Make it fun again. Relate to us with interesting magazine articles on subjects that might be related to menswear. Whether it be an article on emerging fashions in Eastern Europe or how to make a patina on your shoes at home,  or perhaps an analysis of the wardrobe of one of our leaders / painters / writers - make it really fun for people to get involved. 

I promise you, menswear magazines of Australia, if you begin to do this, the money will eventually roll in because people will be loyal to your magazine / blog / e-magazine regardless of how you slide your advertising dollars in there or work it into conjunction deals. It's time for a change, because even we bloggers are waiting to read your fresh content.

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