Thinking Out Loud

April 12, 2015

Relevant Magazine and the Power of Print

Filed under: culture — Tags: , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 8:23 am

Relevant Magazine CoverAbout a year ago my church library started stocking Relevant magazine. As no stranger to the website, relevantmag.com, and having great familiarity with the parent company (Strang Book Group) that gave birth to Relevant Media Group, I could have easily passed the print version by, but decided to borrow one, you know, just in case I missed something. Since then I’ve been borrowing each one as Paul and Elaine, our church librarians, place it in the rack.

This article isn’t about the magazine per se, but rather about the appeal of the print edition. But as to the magazine, its target audience is Millennials and people like me who want to be younger, or at least think younger; and its distinctive is that as it reviews current culture (movies, music, books, television, YouTube, etc.) the writers are not afraid to blend together two worlds that some would call ‘the sacred and the secular.’ Their writer base is diverse as are their interview subjects, and many of the differences that create division between different tribes of Christianity are seemingly absent.

Back to print editions. The internet has been very kind to me, and I don’t want to bite the hand that feeds, but on Saturday afternoon I sat down with the physical copy around 4:30 and didn’t get up much before 5:30. Okay, maybe I’m a slow reader. And there was a short phone call. But there was something about getting lost in a magazine again that was, for lack of a better word refreshing not to mention that unlike the online experience, the print edition offers no off-ramps.

Relevant Magazine CoverI post this today simply to say I hope that Relevant does not go the way of other publications which have ceased print operations. At one time, CCM (Contemporary Christian Music) was the #1 Christian periodical, and now it is simply a web-only entity as is Discipleship Journal. Fortunately, Christianity Today and Leadership Journal (the latter of which employs me as a part-time writer) are also still in print.

As someone who is engaged in book sales, I obviously have a print-bias, but when you consider Relevant’s target market, and the presuppositions about that generation preferring to do everything online, the physical edition of the magazine is something I would hate to see lost to technological and economic factors. As the announcer says, “Available on fine newsstands everywhere;” I hope.

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