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Magazines & Magazine Media: Credibility, Trust & The Art of Curation With An Added Bonus Of Sifting Through the Misinformation

June 26, 2018

A Mr. Magazine™ Musing…

Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

Magazines are art. Their content, photographs, typography, and design all combine together to make the artistry that propels them into that world of cultivated beauty. And if words power societies as we all know they do, then the act of putting letters together to form words should not be taken lightly. In fact, as I am writing this my thought processes are churning as I select each consonant and vowel to curate and create this Mr. Magazine™ Musing.

Magazines are curators. To be fair, magazine creators are the curators, just as Mr. Magazine™ is curator of this message. The curation of content is not something to take lightly. Not in this day and age of fake news and even faker websites that are out there among the masses of true – maybe true – no way could this be true information. And that’s why the weight of the world; the weight of people’s trust and confidence sits squarely on the shoulders of curation.

Curation is an art form. When a magazine’s team gets together to have a meeting-of-the-minds when it comes time for that all-important next issue, finding and organizing that quality content that is meant just for the readers of that magazine is vital.

Searching. Validating. Finding an expert. Summarizing and providing answers to “What’s In It For Me” regardless of what the curated material is that you’re trying to find, and then relating that information and storytelling to the specific audience is what sets a magazine apart from other more questionable content providers.

Courtesy of MPA: The Association of Magazine Media

For example, at the 2018 IMAG Conference that I recently attended in Boston, Linda Thomas Brooks, president and CEO of MPA – The Association of Magazine Media, talked about credibility by the numbers. It was a fascinating presentation. Linda spoke about one article that Parents Magazine ran about child disability that had hours upon hours of reporting and interviews with people who had expertise in the topic, from psychiatrists and psychologists to attorneys and child professionals, proving that thorough investigation and evaluation of research and experts produces verified and credible material that audiences can trust.

And magazines are about creating trust. Curation buffers that trust to the top of the food chain when it comes to the digestion of information. What we put into our minds eventually becomes our thoughts and ideas, so correct, true and worthy information is important to all of us.

And finding an expert to interview, to review, and validate the curation is essential to the credibility of what magazines and magazine media offer. The medium of print is a technology unto itself. As we scan the Internet for information and as we find that knowledge on some obscure website, are we sure that content has been curated through experts, reviews and validation? No, we cannot be sure of anything with random words and sentences that are pulled together in Cyberspace.

Now, most of you know that Mr. Magazine™ has and always will be a voice for print in this digital age that we live in. I don’t think that’s a beacon of surprise to anyone. However, that doesn’t mean that I am not a proponent of positivity for the power of digital information. But what I am saying with this musing is simply, there are some things that magazines do better than the Internet. And that, as always, we out here in the real world (not the virtual world) need the correct information and simple truths that proven print media has to offer.

Some of you may have heard the recent reports on the so-called “computer-generated” models that’s usage is on the rise with social media influencers, which are people who are paid to promote brands and products, and in some cases aren’t even real people. According to these media reports, with this growing online trend, some of these computer-generated influencers have more than one million followers each. The goal of these influencers is to get you to buy products or experiences, but some worry you could be misled by false images. False information from the Internet? Surely not!

Ignoring Mr. Magazine’s™ apparent sarcasm, I think it behooves us to realize that not everything we read, watch, listen to, and absorb from online sources is true and accurate, such as with “Lil Miquela,” the optical illusion model that was referred to in the media reports we were just discussing. She is an avatar designed by artists and constructed by computers. Can you imagine? She appears real and true, but in actuality is only an illusion.

Mr. Magazine’s™ email offer

And if likes and followers can’t be had by fictitious models that don’t even exist, why, you can now buy your way into online popularity. Even Mr. Magazine™ (print lover extraordinaire) receives digital offers to purchase fake and non-existent Instagram followers and Facebook likes. I recently received an email that offered me 10k Facebook likes for $70 and 10k Instagram followers for the same amount. And of course, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn were also included in my illustrious offer.

People, the lines between fiction and reality are becoming blurred. Before we know it, there will be no defining factors between truth and lies. And what are the ethical issues concerning this newfound ability to generate avatar-people? Shouldn’t we worry that deception is becoming the norm in our world?

All of this leads back to the fact that magazines produce “real human” models, “real human” information, and “real human” trust factors. The curation of honest content and factual material is a must for us in this world of fictitious people and misinformation that we live in. The art of curation has never been more important to a generation of human beings who have to sift through the mountains of media falsehoods that exist in the world today.

Until the next time…

See you at the newsstands – the real newsstands!

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