My Break-Up with PEOPLE Magazine

26 01 2011

It’s called  magazine for a reason.
It’s supposed to feature all kinds of people, not just the famous ones.

I’ve had a subscription to People for 3 or 4 years, but bought it fairly regularly before that. I made the decision to ignore all of the “Renew Now!” letters and flyers that have arrived over the past few months and end my relationship with the weekly.

A) I don’t care about Justin Bieber’s haircut, or his “memoir,” or what he looks for in a woman. Good lord.
It seems as if the editors over at People have forgotten who they’re writing for.  Their target audience is between the ages of 18 and 54, but the content has not been a reflection of who/what 50-year-olds are interested in for some time.
How far have we fallen that this, this, or this are newsworthy?!

B) Yeah, yeah, Celebrity baby news.
What was once info relegated to the “Passages” page, now take up cover space (teasers) and full spreads inside.
Is it exciting to see who the newborn celeb offspring resembles? Yes. Is it worth publications spending millions of dollars to show us? No.  With the exception of Michael Jackson’s children, no one has been able to hide their kids forever (which in Hollywood time, is about 7 years).
Two actresses to make birth announcements this past week were Natalie Portman and Kate Hudson.

Natalie Portman is SO hot right now (An Oscar nom! 4 Films coming out in 2011!), and the fact that she will be taking time off from films to be a first-time mom makes such information timely.

But Kate Hudson? Why should we care? She hasn’t been in an even half-way decent film in a decade. She has gotten more press space and time for her failing relationships than for her work as an actress. I can remember the time between her divorce from Chris Robinson and this announcement not in order of what films she released, but in who she dated/broke-up with! It’s sort of sad that she has crossed over from being judged by her work and her professional accomplishments to being a tabloid fixture who seems to be nothing more than a serial-dater.

C) Fewer and fewer human interest stories.
They claim to be 50/50 coverage, but it really seems like 80/20 in some issues.
One of my professors said recently that Hollywood is being revered in this society as it was in the Great Depression, with film and television serving as “escapist entertainment.” I would have to agree.  In an uncertain world, I care less about replicating this or that celebrity style and more about the great, every day people that still exist.
Honestly, I want to know more about the extraordinary person living nextdoor than any celebrity gossip.  Even just a more researched, detailed, narrative account of a breaking national news story is appreciated!
For example, People magazine did a great job covering the death of Tyler Clementi last fall, and it was commendable for them to bump Mel Gibson’s baby mama drama off the cover…  Wait, did you read that? I just praised them for doing something that should not even have needed a moments thought. Is a wave of suicides among America’s gay youth more important than whatever Oksana Grigorieva has to say? Yes.

D) Poorly laid out website.
Admittedly, I check in daily- I have to double verify whatever gossip I read on PerezHilton! (He has said of PEOPLE, “Those bitches don’t confirm anything without a publicist!”)
But the usability of is poor.  Their archive is not well organized, with search parameters returning irrelevant stories or blank documentaries (meaning the article existed, but is not digitally accessible).
The latest celeb tidbits are right there on the homepage, but juuust try to find a “Heroes Among Us” article.

I will undoubtedly thumb through the latest issue on my next stroll through WalMart, and I will no doubt buy copies in the future, but I could no longer justify the cost of a subscription for the unsatisfying content.  I will be looking to Rolling Stone, TIME, Newsweek, and just about any other contemporary publication to fill the hole left in my heart left by People.  (Suggestions welcome!)




2 responses

8 02 2011

I agree with you. I don’t care who Jennifer Aniston is dating, what Lindsay Lohan did/didn’t steal, or how much liquor Charlie Sheen embibed. I especially don’t care to learn the minutae of the lives/loves of any Kardashian or any other pseudo celebrity reality star. I want to know about exceptional people, from varied generations, doing exceptional things with their lives. Unfortunately, we live in a voyeristic society. If you find a terrific People Mag alternative, please pass on the name, I’d love to hear about that!

24 01 2012
People Magazine is EMBARRASSING « Marshall Lately

[…] you may know, I cancelled my subscription to People magazine, like a year ago. But I haven’t stopped thumbing through it at the store or checking out the […]

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