How I came to love magazines again

Dylan Connell is a third-year Journalism student currently interning at the International Magazine Centre. If you like his work, you can connect with him on LinkedIn and follow him on Twitter – he’d love to hear from you. You can find more of Dylan’s work over on his website.

Growing up I was a regular reader of Ride UK BMX magazine. The magazine was a good fit for me since I rode BMX until I went to university. Ride perfectly captured the BMX culture of the late 2000s into the early 2010s. Reading the magazine gave me a chance to see the new places riders were going on their bikes, what they were wearing, and what their bikes were looking like. I loved the magazine because it allowed me to see what was happening in the world of BMX out with Scotland. I always read it cover to cover.

The magazine stopped printing in 2015, and from then I didn’t really read any magazines.

I started interning at the International Magazine Centre at the start of 2021. The experience has given me the chance to fall back in love with magazines. My desk has been quickly filling up with magazines of all kinds, which has been amazing. I’ve really enjoyed delving into topic areas that I normally wouldn’t. For example, I recently read New Scientist, which I thought was fantastic.

I’ve been reading titles big and small. I have to say though that my favourites have been independently owned titles. I love the way that niche titles can take an idea and explore so many different ideas within it. An example is architecture magazine The Modernist. I read the “Kino” edition, which is themed around cinema buildings. Within this theme, there are features on what it was like running a cinema in Rotterdam, another on British fashion legend John Simons and even an interview with The The’s Matt Johnson. The magazine took the theme of cinema buildings and ran with it, looking at how they could incorporate lots of things within that. I loved the creativity behind that and think it does everything that a niche title should.

The result of my new love of independent titles is that I now have a Stack Magazine subscription – I now receive a different independent title every month, picked by Stack. This is something I look forward to because I never know what I’m going to get.

Music magazines also now have a spot in my life. I feel that they have managed to fill the hole that was left from Ride UK BMX magazine stopping. I’m very passionate about music, so it made perfect sense to buy some music magazines. I decided to start with The Face and So Young.

The Face provides me with news on the world of current music. I love its design and writing. The magazine features everything from music, fashion and even some politics. These are the three things that I’m most interested in, so the magazine is a perfect fit for me.

So Young provides me with news about smaller, more underground bands. The magazine has really filled the void that not being able to go to gigs has left within me. Previously, I would find out about new bands by going to gigs, but with current COVID restrictions that isn’t possible. So Young showcases new bands, and also updates me on what more well-known bands are doing. Another thing that makes me enjoy the magazine is its illustrations. The illustrations are by up-and-coming artists and always fit the articles perfectly.

Another thing that independent titles have done for me is instil me with hope that a job working on magazines is more within my reach than I previously thought. Before I started at the International Magazine Centre, I thought that being able to work on a magazine was something that I would only be able to do after a significant number of years working as a journalist. I thought that you couldn’t just jump straight from university to working on a magazine. The exposure that I have gained to the magazine industry by working at the International Magazine Centre, coupled with a realisation of the sheer volume of independent titles that are out there, has made me more hopeful for an earlier start in magazine journalism. The varieties of niche titles that exist makes me feel that there are more opportunities to be creative in the industry than I expected.

Rediscovering my love of magazines has come at a great time for me. Working remotely, and even interacting with friends remotely (due to the pandemic) has meant that sometimes the last thing I want to do in my free time is look at a screen. Magazines offer me a way to switch off from the world around me and enter their world instead.

I have read a fair number of magazines since I started at the International Magazine Centre, so I’ve put some of my favourites below:

The Face

The Face is fantastic and offers news from the worlds of music, fashion and politics. The magazine has a great design, using a mix of bold colours and beautiful, large images with the latest fashion items. It manages to blend high fashion and street style in a very unique way without losing the true essence of either. The magazine features interviews with the top names in music and fashion, while also shining a light on new talent.

So Young

So Young is a great magazine for discovering new bands and artists, who you might not previously be aware of. They also have great coverage of current bands and what they are doing and some amazing illustrations by up-and-coming artists.

Delayed Gratification

Delayed Gratification is a ‘slow journalism’ magazine. This means that it doesn’t cover news events as they happen. Instead, the magazine waits for the dust to settle on these events and then goes back three months and discusses the details that might have been missed during the chaos of reporting them live. I really like this concept and feel that it’s a very clever way of reporting news.

The Modernist

The Modernist is a wonderful magazine. It takes a broad theme and explores it in a very creative way – exploring all possible angels within that theme.

GQ

I had previously thought GQ was just a fashion magazine but was happy to find that it wasn’t. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the magazine as, to my surprise, it also had amazing coverage of political events along with some great stories on music, and obviously some amazing fashion stories.

National Geographic

I have followed Nat Geo on Instagram for years and sat in awe at their photography, but I’d never bought the magazine. I was obviously missing out because it’s incredible. From the images, to the stories, to the design – it’s everything a magazine should be and more.

YEAR ZERO

I received this magazine from Stack. Year Zero is, to quote their Instagram bio, an ‘Istanbul based independent platform for the examination of emerging global subcultures.’ The issue I read was issue three. It had a non-linear structure, with the reader encouraged to find their own path through the magazine. I felt that this made reading the magazine a very fun experience. I also really liked the experimental design of the magazine and felt that it went well with the DIY theme of it.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my time working at the International Magazine Centre and recommend connecting with Director Nikki Simpson, attending one of their events, or interning there if you get a chance!