Like toys, cars or clothes, magazines are a consumer product. Anyone looking to publish a magazine must be able to identify and appeal to their target consumers. For many magazines, location is key – it’s hard to cover a specific community if you aren’t a part of it.
Below is a constantly-growing-ever-changing Google map of magazine headquarters around the world. One can observe trends in these locations, from the fashion magazines in New York, the political magazines in D.C., and the home & garden magazines in the Midwest.
These trends prove that magazines are an effective litmus test of culture. By looking at where these magazines are located, who they’re covering and who is subscribing, we can track the evolution of people’s cultural interests. For example, the success of the legendary “Seven Sisters” magazines is representative of a once-dominant subculture in the American Midwest: stay-at-home mothers with children and working husbands, all of whom are decidedly Caucasian. Now a few of the Seven Sisters are evolving to fit modern tastes, an act also representative of cultural shifts.
Hell, when I was adding magazines to the map off the top of my head, a large handful were New York-based and published by Condé Nast. Apparently this shows I’m interested in “provocative, influential, award-winning content.”
Like our society, magazines are constantly changing and moving. Stay on top of how they’re changing – both the content and how they’re delivering it – and you’ll know a lot about humanity.