Closing the Book

21 Mar

I have to say, it’s a real bummer when a magazine changes its positioning and you realize it’s no longer for you. It’s sort of like when you leave school for the summer and you have your good friends, but then when you return, you are the same but your friends have other interests and they leave you behind. (Don’t try to tell me you don’t identify with that.) Such is the case with Giant magazine, which is no longer a general entertainment magazine, one that I enjoyed reading.

I noticed something was up when Giant was redesigned pretty horribly in the middle of last year and the cover photos featured people like Beyonce, and P.Diddy. But those two, for example, are pretty mainstream, and the inside coverage still had a mix of subjects. I could say I was interested in about half of it each month. Then last month’s issue, with Jennifer Hudson on the cover, was lackluster and almost completely uninteresting. And when I got the new issue in the mail tonight, featuring Eve on the cover and the new tagline “Urban Entertainment,” I knew it was time to cancel my subscription.

It’s not that I had developed such an attachment to Giant over the years, but just 12 months ago, this was a magazine that had people like Katie Holmes, Owen Wilson, Denise Richards, Jon Heder and Mischa Barton on its cover. It was a fun, somewhat juvenile read about movies I watched, music I listened to, and TV shows I was interested in. Its target audience was clearly 18–30 year-old men. The “fanboy” demographic. I even knew a couple people who worked there. By contrast, the new Giant is geared toward young Black men, and the people I knew are no longer on the masthead. Not surprisingly, there’s almost nothing I want to read in the latest issue.

It’s just a magazine, I know. But in a weird way, this feels like a betrayal of sorts. Sure, you could say I should have seen it coming, and in hindsight, yes, it’s pretty obvious what direction the magazine was headed. But this is one of the most radical shifts of a magazine I’ve seen. And it comes in the same month that Premiere magazine is ceasing publication, so that’s two magazines I read regularly that will no longer occupy a space on my coffee table.

I work in the magazine publishing world, so I can appreciate why and how magazines change their focus or positioning. But when it’s this drastic — when a magazine totally turns its back on its readers and goes in a completely different direction — well, that’s just not cool. And though I got no satisfaction from asking for a refund of what was left of my subscription money tonight (an $8 check is on its way, I’m told), I knew that was the only way to save face in this situation. I’m not going to continue to support my “friend” if it’s not going to be loyal to me.

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