Medium, message and magazines – University of Arts students blaze a trail

At a major business-publishing house I visited yesterday, someone asked the question “Does anyone really want the word ‘print’ in their job title any more?” This morning I came across some young journalists who would say ‘yes’.

The Arts London Monthly Magazine Club was set up by Kate Rintoul, who happens to be one of the students I teach at the London College of Communication. “The idea of the club is to get different perspectives on the same magazine… with the more visual people highlighting details about the shoots and layout; and the ‘wordy’ people like me drawing on features and uses of language,” she explains. “I am aware of the trials that print journalism faces – so recognise that encouraging people, especially students to keep picking up copies is a positive thing for the industry.”

It’s another example of something which really struck me during my first year teaching journalism, that students are less obsessed with the medium and more focussed on the message than many established journalists. This may be because they are not dealing with ‘change’, just looking at what can be achieved with what’s available.

The Magazine Club’s formation was sparked by a debate over a Vogue cover, and Vogue is a magazine I use to illustrate a point about medium in one of my sessions. People who buy Vogue want a lavish, glossy, physical entity that they can leaf through at leisure – and, let’s face it, leave around as a badge of style on a prominent surface. That experience can’t be replicated online. But what the print edition can’t do is show footage of the catwalk shows, which is where vogue.co.uk comes in.

Of course, vogue.co.uk offers far more than just Vogue TV, but it seems to me this illustrates the opportunities now on offer to really understand and communicate so much more effectively than ever before. Moving images show how the clothes move and carry, and give a flavour of the designer’s personality and statement by projecting the whole catwalk experience, while still photos allow the  consumer to drink in the look and style at leisure, alongside more considered analysis and background.

The Arts London Magazine Club is fashion-focussed, and draws on all the constituent colleges that make up the University of the Arts, London. It’s a great example of making space to think, to analyse and to question – something we don’t do enough of in the trade. And, of course, it’s focussed on print. If anyone wants to get invited along to tell these students why they’re wasting their time looking at print, get in touch with me and I’ll pass your details on to Kate. 😉

#fashion #journalismeducation #Magazines

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