Cover photo-illustration by Lou Beach

What’s new?

That’s what we asked ourselves when we sat down to create this spring’s issue of the New York Review of Magazines, and 2003 gave us plenty to work with. Sometimes it seemed that no matter what we looked into, whether it was new launches, new designs or new media, the same issues kept popping up: The war. The economy. Politics. Demographics. Magazines have always reflected the state of the union — that’s what makes the business so intriguing.

So when we looked at design trends, not only did we discover a "new sobriety;" we found that in a tough economic climate, magazines don’t have the luxury of being illegible. When we looked at Pat Buchanan’s new magazine, not only did we find a conservative arguing against the war in Iraq; we found a battle for the soul of the conservative movement. Even when we looked at the popular Web diaries called "blogs," we found a new breed of opinion journalism driven by an intensely competitive political climate.

But magazines aren’t all serious all the time, and neither are we. In this issue, you’ll meet teenage girls, frustrated interns, prickly editors and Gene Simmons’ celebrated tongue. You’ll discover new formats, new fetishes and new mavericks seeking new markets. Covering an entire industry in one issue would be impossible, so we aimed for an engaging and eclectic mix of business and pleasure. We hope you enjoy it. And remember: You’re only as smart as the magazines you read.

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Then & Now: Four Magazines Evolve; Touch This Magazine!; Size Matters

The Incredible Shrinking Story; The War of Words; Ferrets, Uzis and Ponygirls:Welcome to the Niche Report; On Their Nightstands, On Their Minds

Ethan Casey Sounds Off about; Oprah Domina: The Queen of Talk Conquers Newsstand; Gone But Not Forgotten; The Changing Face of J-Schools?

Advice Column: Ask Ms. Maven
Horoscopes: Words of Wisdom or Cosmic Fraud?

Taki & Pat vs. the Neocons: Who Owns the Conservative Movement?
by Danielle Stein

Teen Girls on Teen Mags: The Big Sleepover
by Daniel L. Cole

"I’d Rather Read about People like Me"
by Kristen Fletcher

Couples Mag Seeks Investor with Deep Pockets for Meaningful. Long-term Relationship
by Linda Riddle

Poetry Mag Strikes it Rich: Stopping by the Bank on a Snowy Evening
by Sarah Wyatt

Soapbox Redux: Bloggers Bask in the Spotlight
by Bill Hangley. Jr.

Betting on Bilingualism: an Americano Crosses the Border to Latina
by Bibiana Ferraiuoli Suárez

Same Old, Same Old? The State of the "New" Republic
by Allison Hoffman

Letter from Pleasantville: Confessions of a Reader’s Digest Intern
by James David

Left Turn: a Trade Magazine for Radicals
by Susan Phillips

A Black Hole: Making the Case for a Black News Magazine
by Cynthia Daniels

Now Read This: Designers Make More with Less
by Anat Rosenberg

Gene Simmons Tongue, Budget Living, Cheap Date, Everyday Food, Ghent, IndieVision, Legal Affairs, Lucky, Organic Style, Oxford American, Proof, smock, Today’s Black Woman, Brides Noir

© Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism
George T. Delacorte Center for Magazine Journalism