Thursday, September 20, 2012

Seminar topics

1) Free magazines (content marketing/sponsor magazines)
Content marketing (magazines issues by non-media companies, "customer magazines" etc.) is the future (Olle Lidbom), but Kerstin Neld preferred the term "sponsor magazines". Part advertising (also in terms of the editorial content) and free of charge. High quality pictures and stories, to be picked up on trains and airplanes or given away together with a newspaper, or sent home because your address is in some database and you have been identified as belonging to a target group.

2) The future of journalism (and journalists)
With so much free content available on the Internet, how is it possible to "protect good journalism", quality articles (content), and uphold journalistic standards? Will current developments make many journalists redundant? Will journaists be outcompeted (outbid) by unpaid amateurs (blogs) and technological innovations (Pocket, Instapaper, Flipboard etc.) that “de-commoditize” texts and great (and not-so-great) content? Will journalists go from stable jobs and freelancing to having to be jack-of-all-trades with multiple income streams.

3) Children's and youths' reading habits/relationship to magazines
What is the relationship to physical (and digital) magazines of those that are, say, a decade younger than you are? What is the state of comics and childrens' magazines (Donald Duck, Kamratposten) today? How do they engage and interact with their readers? What can be discerned about the future by talking to the people who produce today's youth-oriented magazines and those who will be your age a decade from now?

4) Pros and cons of analog and digital magazines/content
Many people talk about the feeling of luxury when buying a physical magazine (including aesthetic and sensory aspects); of quality paper, of beautiful layout and interesting typography. What stands to be lost, what can be gained when we leave paper behind? How can negative aspects be minimized (or incorporated in digital products) and positive aspects maximized?

5) The future of paper magazines
Many students prefer paper to digital magazines (for aesthetic, sensory, health, overview etc. reasons; strained eyes, the smell of a new magazine, “sometimes it is very relaxing to take a break from the world of buttons, screens and displays”). So what is the future of paper magazines? Niche luxury product for the rich? Given away for free in the subway? Independently produced local hobby projects (think Composite K and beyond – anyone can do a magazine today!)? Other?

6) The future of micro-segments
Olle Lidbom described a movement to smaller and smaller segments = more niched and “concentrated” target groups = higher price for advertising (despite a smaller audience). Producing a magazine is a way to find/define a group (surfers, people who care about gardening, parents, hard rockers etc.). What is the future of magazines in an age when niches (interests, audiences) are becoming smaller and more specialized? What is the role of paper and digital channels in this process and what are the implications for the future?

7) Business models for monetizing leechers
The big challenge; how can magazines “squeeze” money out of all the (digital) “leechers” who want to read for free without paying? What constitutes "value" to people? How much are people willing to pay for content/magazines on paper or for digital content/channels? Who is willing to pay (how much) and who isn't? What do we know already today and what are the trends and implications for the future of magazines? Are there clear difference between genres (womens' vs mens' magazines, gardening vs home improvement vs cooking vs ...)? If so, why and what does this mean (for the future)?

8) Magazines and identity
We subscribe to and read magazines not just for the content, but also as identity markers. I'm the kind of person who reads X, I'm the kind of person who have magazines X, Y and Z on my coffee table (to impress, so that people can appreciate my exquisite taste, to indicate topics I like to discuss etc.). And it's not just the covers, it's also the contents; I'm the kind of person who is updated on futuristic implications of technology (because I read Wired magazine) or about this autumn's fashion (because I read Elle magazine) or about the next version of iPad (because I read Macworld). Magazines say something about who you are. How can this function be incorporated into tablet and digital channels?

9) The future of interactive dynamic advertising
Digital magazines can encompass interactive, dynamic content; hyperlinks and clickable ads, audio or video clips. Anders Malmsten mentioned several ways that advertising could be developed on digital platforms. Perhaps advertisements in your magazines from last year could be changed retroactively, or a company could by time slots for ads in magazines (whole-page ads being displayed only between 7-9 in the morning, or only before the concert but not after)?
10) The limits of advertising
Are there limits where the possibilities of advertising on digital platforms in order to target even smaller niches or customize messages to an audience of one (you) becomes distasteful or disturbing to readers? Is the border where "useful" become "creepy" and where being catered to and being stalked is crossed? Are there signs of a "revolt", and what is the future of advertising in a world where increasing numbers of people want to opt out of being surveilled and sold to?

·      11) The future of reading 
Deep reading of longer, in-depth articles on particular subjects is replaced by browsing a zillion headlines to keep track of breaking news in your areas of interests and following up the browsing with reading a selected few texts. While these behaviors to some extent are an effect of previous changes in technology and business models, what are the implications of such new behaviors on technology, revenue and business models? (This question can be repeated for all topics relating to behavior below!)

·      12) The future of reading is discussions! 
The relative importance of learning about a topic through reading “defining texts” decreases and the activity of discussing and debating topics increases. The text (a result of a journalist’s craftwork) itself is not the end point but just the beginning; consuming facts is replaced by discussions and debate with knowledgeable people. Magazines are replaced by a multitude of peoples’ voices (democracy) and expert rule (meritocracy).

·      13) The future of periodicity. 
Magazines on paper have been published between every week (entertainment, politics, current news) to every quarter (professional magazines). What happens to periodicity, will we have constant (?) updates on digital platforms (like we have with news today). How do the demands on magazines and on the timeliness and updatedness of the content change when magazines go digital?

·      14) The future of trade magazines/professional journals 
We have concentrated on broader target groups, but what is the future of better researched, more focused (tighter target group), better selected and more specialized texts in the professional magazines in the future?

·      15) The future of long texts (“long form”). 
Magazines articles can be more and can go deeper than newspaper articles. But perhaps these texts won’t be packaged inside magazines, but rather consumed in some other form/format in the future? Good articles come from writers, not from magazines! Therefore in the future…

·      16) An audience of one. 
Nifty apps like Pocket, Instapaper, Flipboard in combination with services like Reddit, Buzzfeed, discussion forums and social media platforms make it possible to earmark and later integrate and present texts that come from a variety of different sources into a nicely formatted, advertisement-free experience on your smartphone. Is the future of the magazine an infinitely personalized and customized magazine that is different for each (brands and magazine titles are replaced by My Magazine)? What are the implications for…

·      17) Collaborative blogs
Is the future of magazines collaborative blogs (like Anna Troberg suggested)? What can be learned from,,, and other collaborative blogs? Can they be monetized? How?

·      18) The function of long text (“long form”) in the future. 
Magazines articles can be more and can go deeper than newspaper articles and they can make you feel revitalized, focused, inspired and even smarter. What is the future of the function of long, in-depth texts in the future? Can they be transferred to digital channels?

·      19) Reading patterns of the future
Physical magazines can form strong bonds with their readers; readers can wait for, long for, read (perhaps from cover to cover), cherish and save physical magazines. But digital magazines are for the most part downloaded, read (perhaps) and erased. Or even if not erased, for the most part invisible to yourself and to others. So what are the “reader habits beyond reading” in the future? What about serendipity and the editorial function?

·      20) The future of magazine distribution. 
Distributions of paper magazines is a bottleneck and a large part of the edition comes back in the form of returns.  Can the distributions chain be digital, the magazine available in a newsstand (but digital) and the content be loaded (temporarily?) onto a reader?

·      21) The future of magazines is Spotify! 
What would a Spotified solution for magazines look like?

·      22) The future of social editing
Olle Lidbom described how texts are being written and edited not for fitting into a newspaper or a magazine, but for being shared on social media platforms. Editing texts for being shared on Facebook to drive traffic in order to… (please fill in the blank).

·      23) The future of radically new revenue sources
Perhaps the magazine publisher will have to find totally new sources of revenue; create events (meet the journalists), pop-up stores in shopping malls (Teen Vogue), apps (“The closet”, Teen Vogue), appology (an anthology-in-an-app with carefully selected texts from an archive spanning decades of great writing in The New Yorker). These examples all come from Olle Lidboms’s lecture.

·      24) The changing function of magazines
Ulrika Facht suggested that media can have different functions; information vs amusement & distraction and basic use (daily routines) vs additional use (individual choices). This resulted in four different functions; “Coverage”, “Relaxation”, “Entertainment” and “Specialization”. What is the function of (different) magazines? How has and how will digitization change the functions of texts in general and magazines/magazine texts in particular?

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