Communication Institute for Online Scholarship
Communication Institute for Online
Scholarship Continous online service and innovation
since 1986
Site index
ComAbstracts Visual Communication Concept Explorer Tables of Contents Electronic Journal of Communication ComVista

Research Review: City and Regional Magazines
EJC logo
The Electronic Journal of Communication / La Revue Electronique de Communication
***** HYNDS ************ EJC/REC Vol. 4, Nos. 2-4, 1994 ****


Ernest C. Hynds
University of Georgia

        Abstract:  City magazines comprise what appears
     to be an under-developed, under-researched segment
     of the U.S. magazine industry.  Many editors and
     publishers have explored city magazines' potential
     as information, entertainment, and advertising
     mediums, but relatively few have explored their
     vast potential as agenda setters, investigative
     reporters, and advocates of improved cities.
     Research on city magazines to see what their full
     potential might be and how best to develop it has
     been limited.  This article traces the historical
     development of city magazines, reviews the limited
     amount of research that has been done in the
     field, and suggests research approaches that the
     magazines could use to expand their services to
     readers, advertisers, owners, staff members, and


     City magazines comprise what appears to be an
under-developed, under-researched segment of the United
States magazine industry. Many of the 74 city magazines
identified in a 1993 survey are making money by providing
information, entertainment, and advertising for affluent
readers in their suburbs. But far fewer magazines, perhaps
no more than a third, are truly exploring their seemingly
vast potential as agenda setters, investigative reporters,
and advocates of improved cities. City magazines that
successfully mix serious reporting and commentary with
guides to leisure-time fun can exert influence and provide
service far beyond their numbers, which together comprise
less than one percent of the nation's magazines. Moreover,
they could provide models for entrepreneurs in hundreds of
cities that currently do not have city magazines of their
own but whose residents and visitors could benefit from such

     As the 21st century approaches, many of the nation's
cities, especially the larger ones, are facing major
economic and social problems. They need mass media
assistance in defining problems, recommending solutions, and
building consensus for action. Print media may provide the
best vehicles for such service, and in some communities,
local newspapers are seeking to meet the need. Magazine
involvement is needed, too, and city magazines appear best
suited to help. City magazines can complement the reporting
of the newspapers and provide an alternative voice on how
best to effect solutions. _New York_, _Philadelphia_,
_Atlanta_, the _Washingtonian_, and others have at times
demonstrated the investigative potential of city magazines.
_San Diego_ has provided an alternative voice to that of the
local newspapers in its community. Many city magazines have
encouraged the development of business and industry, espe-
cially the tourism industry. All of these are appropriate
topics to pursue along with the lifestyle coverage that has
dominated the pages of many city magazines.

     If city magazine editors, publishers, and owners invest
adequate time and money in research, as some appear to be
doing, their publications can provide leadership for their
communities as well as produce revenue for owners, improve
sales for advertisers, and offer information and
entertainment for readers. Journalism educators can help
city magazines realize their potential in all of these
areas by contributing research, by critiquing the research
that is being done, and by prodding the magazines to cover
issues as well as celebrities. Educators can also use these
magazines as models for developing research approaches to
other types of magazines and magazines in general. In so
doing, they can perhaps expand the types of research applied
to magazines and encourage wider dissemination of
information about existing magazine research by publishers,
trade associations, and others.

     With these goals in mind, this article will review the
history of city magazines, especially since their
renaissance in the 1960s, and describe the status of the
genre in the 1990s. Subsequently, it will explore the
development of research about city magazines in scholarly
journals, papers presented at scholarly meetings, theses and
dissertations, consumer magazines, trade and professional
publications, and books. Finally, it will suggest other
research approaches that might be applied to help city
magazines improve and expand their service to readers as
individuals and as members of communities.

              Evolution of City Magazines

     The city magazine idea can be traced back at least to
the late 19th century. Ben Moon in his study of city
magazine origins suggests that _Town Topics_, founded by
Colonel William Mann in New York City before 1900, was
perhaps the first American magazine whose editorial content
focused primarily on a city. _Town Topics_ contained gossip
and general light news of interest to its New York society
audience.[1] It ceased publication in 1932 when its
publisher was charged with having blackmailed persons into
buying stock.[2] Prior to that, in the middle of the 19th
century, publications called "urban weeklies" discussed
urban problems but concentrated more on the fine arts,
fashion, music, literature, poetry, humor, gossip, and

     An even better prototype of the modern city magazine
was founded in 1925 by Harold Ross, who said his _New
Yorker_ magazine would be a reflection in word and pictures
of metropolitan life. It has provided that and more.
Cartoons, profiles, plotless short stories, and other
features have made the _New Yorker_ difficult to classify.
It has demonstrated characteristics of the literary
magazine, the humor magazine, and the public affairs
magazine, and it has gained considerable circulation in
communities, often large but sometimes small, outside of New
York. Nevertheless, offerings such as "Goings on About
Town," which lists theaters, movies, concerts, and myriad
other activities in New York City, give it a distinctly city
magazine flavor. Such lists have become staples of most
city magazines.

     In part as a result of the _New Yorker_'s success, a
number of city-oriented magazines were started throughout
the country in the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s. They included
the _Parade_ in Cleveland, the _Bulletin-Index_ in
Pittsburgh and _Town Tidings_ in Buffalo as well as the
Philadelphian_, the _Bostonian_, the _Chicagoan_, the _New
Orleanian_, the _San Franciscan_ and others. Most of the
emulators never achieved large circulations, and their
failure rate was high. Some lacked editorial quality and a
clearly defined editorial format. None were especially
successful.[4] Theodore Peterson in his study of American
magazines suggests many may have failed to hold readers
because they tried too hard to transplant the _New Yorker_
into their own localities instead of developing as
indigenous products.[5]

     _San Diego_, started in 1948, has been labeled the last
major precursor to, or the pioneer magazine in, the modern
city magazine movement that evolved in the 1960s. Edwin Self
and a partner started the publication that year and merged
it three years later with _Point Newsweekly_ to provide a
liberal voice in a community that had been dominated by
conservative newspapers since the death of the Democratic
_San Diego Journal_.[6]

Renaissance Begins in the 1960s

     Various factors converged to provide the impetus for
the development of city magazines in the 1960s. After World
War II, the nation's population expanded at a rapid rate and
became increasingly concentrated in urban and especially
metropolitan areas. By 1960, 70 percent of the population
was urban and 63 percent was metropolitan. Increasing
numbers of African-Americans joined the melting pot of
ethnic groups in the large cities, and all struggled to meet
the challenges produced by rapid growth and an accelerated
tempo of technological and social change. Conflicts and
tensions evolved as local governments created in the 18th
and 19th centuries sought to accommodate the rapidly
changing needs and attitudes of the 20th. Many inner cities
deteriorated as more affluent residents, often white, moved
to the suburbs.[7] The human rights movement, the conflict
in Southeast Asia, and other developments prompted social
unrest and change. In addition, cities became increasingly
competitive for business, industry, and tourism.

     City magazines developed in response to these and
related changes. Many such as _Atlanta_ were started by
chambers of commerce to promote business and tourism
development. A few were developed to provide alternative
voices, and some were started as survival manuals for city
dwellers, usually upper middle class residents whose
readership could attract advertising. Many were started to
serve the growing number of affluent persons that settled in
the suburbs. It appears that few were started to address
city problems such as overcrowding, unemployment, pollution,
crime, and creeping decay or even suburban problems such as
poor transportation, overcrowded educational and
recreational facilities, and restricted tax bases. But in
time some came to deal with these problems because they
prompted increasing interest and concern among their

     The number of city magazines grew rapidly in the 1960s.
In 1967 _Business Week_ reported, "Some sixty magazines
have sprouted up in cities across the land, many of them
slick, provocative, and aimed at an affluent audience."[8]
In 1968, John Tebbel, writing in the _Saturday Review_,
said that with the emergence of _New York_ in true
magazine format every major American metropolis had a city
magazine and the medium had come into its own. "The
business press," Tebbel wrote, "was first to notice last
year that a kind of publishing which had long been dismissed
as self-serving Chamber of Commerce propaganda had changed
significantly and was not only a growing medium, offering a
new market to advertisers, but one whose magazines had begun
to act more like civic gadflies than tame publicity
purveyors."[9] _New York_ had been published as a Sunday
supplement in the _Herald Tribune_ before that newspaper
ceased publication. _Newsweek_ magazine suggested that same
year that some city magazines had been started in search of
a shortcut to status. "Every red-blooded American city
craves a symphony orchestra, a civic center, a major league
baseball team and other monuments of civilization," the
magazine wrote. "But these days a city can take a shortcut
to status with a city magazine."[10]

Emphasis Patterns Emerge and Persist

     City magazines continued to grow in importance in the
early 1970s, both because of their editorial content and
their potential as an advertising medium. The types of
articles ranged broadly, but personality profiles and
interviews appeared to be the most popular. Industry
spokesmen expressed optimism about the future, but noted
problems in building circulation, finding good
editorial material, acquiring advertiser support, and
meeting the challenge of rising costs. Establishing a strong
local identity appeared to be the key to success.[11] In
subsequent years the magazines sought to overcome their
problems by using research to identify readers' interests,
increasing their educational efforts to win advertisers,
promoting their magazines on radio and televison, increasing
special interest sections, and staying alert to local

     Emerging content patterns in the 1970s were not always
encouraging to those who see city magazines as catalysts for
solving community problems and meeting community needs. By
the end of the decade it appeared that lifestyle reporting
had become the dominant interest of most city magazines. A
survey in the late 1970s found that most editors regarded
pointing out local problems and needs as important and that
some encouraged aggressive journalism, including
investigative reporting. It also reported that
approximately half of the magazines saw themselves as
possible alternative voices to local newspapers. But the
survey also found that almost all city magazines regarded
providing information about lifestyles and living in the
city and providing information about food, travel, and
entertainment as important functions. About half reported
that promoting business, including tourism, was important.
This survey also determined that while most city magazines
in the 1960s had been owned by chambers of commerce, most in
the late 1970s were independently owned.[13]

    David Shaw, who writes about the media for the _Los
Angeles Times_, said in 1976 that city magazines had
attracted a sophisticated status-conscious audience that
buys new cars, stereo equipment, and fine clothes and is
highly attractive to advertisers. He suggested that the
audience was successful but not content, that it was
concerned about achieving. "Crime, inflation, congestion,
and competition are the four horsemen of this audience's
imminent apocalypse," Shaw wrote. "City magazines cater to
those concerns--telling their readers how to protect their
homes against burglary, where to shop for bargains, how to
beat rush-hour traffic, where to go for psychoanalysis,
transcendental meditation, or crash-dieting." He said it
seems that most persons read city magazines "either to learn
how to cope with their environment or to enjoy, vicariously,
the success that others more wealthy and fortunate than
themselves have had in so doing."[14]

     A partial replication of the late 1970s study completed
in 1993 found that lifestyle information was still a major
component at most city magazines. As in the 1970s, more
than 90 percent of the editors said they provide information
about living in the city, lifestyles, food, travel, and
entertainment. But the study also found that reporting on
community problems and needs was still important to most and
that an increasing percentage of the magazines were willing
to take stands on local issues through editorials, columns,
or other labeled commentary. Almost a third (32 percent) in
1993, as compared with 13 percent in the 1970s, said they
often took such stands. About the same percentages, 27
percent in 1993 and 24 percent in the 1970s, said they took
stands occasionally. The number of city magazines has not
changed dramatically in recent years. Sixty-five were
identified as city magazines and included in the 1970s
study, and 74 were identified and included in 1993. Both
studies have distinguished city magazines from the broader
category of city, state, and regional magazines in which
they are often listed. The shift to independent ownership
was confirmed as more than 90 percent of the publications in
1993 were privately owned.[15]

         Review of Research on City Magazines

     It seems certain from comments by editors and others
that research plays as important a role in determining the
editorial content and advertising in city magazines as it
does in determining such matters at other magazines. But it
appears, as suggested by Thomas Jacobson in 1988, that
information about research practices at magazines is
"largely diffused throughout the industry, possessed by
individual research directors of publishing companies and
trade associations."[16] Jacobson, who studied research
practices in magazine publishing, said few reports on
magazine research practices had been published. He said
that most academic research had addressed either magazine
content or magazine advertising effects and that little, if
any, had described the role of research within magazine
publishing companies. He said trade press articles are the
most frequent source of information on current research
practices, but said they tend to provide anecdotal accounts
of how research is used for a particular application and
stick close to a single theme or topic.[17]

     Jacobson's study involved an assessment of academic
research on magazines, a series of meetings with leading
researchers in magazine publishing companies and trade
organizations, and a mail survey of publishing company
personnel involved in the conduct or use of research. He
found that 89 percent of consumer magazines and 70 percent
of business magazines used research; that 28 percent had
independent research departments, and that 22 percent relied
to some degree on research activities of centralized
corporate research departments. Reader profiles, market
studies, buying influence and attention studies, surveys for
article and feature ideas, and editorial effectiveness
studies were among the most common types of research
reported in his study.[18]

     Most of the magazine research cited in the book reviews
and bibliographies published in _Journalism Quarterly_
during the three decades of the modern city magazine
movement has centered on general magazines such as
_Reader's Digest_, news magazines, and women's magazines.
Those types of publications got most of the attention in the
books on magazines published during the period and were the
subjects of most of the articles in both scholarly and
popular publications. There are several books that deal
specifically with city magazines, and there are a few
dissertations and theses about them cited in _Journalism
Abstracts_ or other sources. Most of the limited number of
articles on specific city magazines have been on
publications in large cities such as New York, Chicago, and
Los Angeles.

Scholarly Contributions

     Sam G. Riley, professor and former head of the
department of communications studies at Virginia Tech, has
been a major contributor to city magazine research,
especially through his work as an editor for Greenwood Press
in Westport, Conn. Most recently, in 1991, Riley and Gary
W. Selnow, also a faculty member at Virginia Tech, edited a
418-page volume on _Regional Interest Magazines of the
United States_. The book, published by Greenwood, includes
entries on _Chicago_, _Philadelphia_, _Atlanta_, and many
other city magazines. Each entry describes the magazine's
founding, development, editorial policies, and content and
provides data on information sources.[19] Three years
earlier, in 1989, Greenwood published an _Index to City and
Regional Magazines of the United States_ compiled by Riley
and Selnow. More than 900 general-interest consumer
magazines are listed in this valuable reference book.[20]

     Magazine and other historians are also indebted to
Professor Riley for two other substantial works published by
Greenwood in 1986. _Magazines of the American South_
provides profiles of magazines of general appeal published
in the South between 1794 and 1982.[21] _Index to Southern
Periodicals_ provides two indexes, one with an alphabetical
list of periodical titles and one with the periodicals
arranged by states and years.[22] Riley's research into
Southern magazines also led to scholarly articles in
_Journalism Quarterly_ on "Specialized Magazines of the
South," in 1982 and "Southern Magazine Publishing, 1764-
1984," in 1988. The former, based in part on a
questionnaire, provides valuable information about city,
state, and regional magazines in the region.[23] The latter,
done in conjunction with Selnow, does not deal specifically
with city magazines. It divides the periodicals discussed
into academic/professional, trade/technical, leisure, and
_other_ categories. The article argues that the region's
magazines do not support the popular myth about the South
being a monolith.[24]

      It appears from checking the _Journalism Quarterly_
indexes and bibliographies and other sources that fewer than
a dozen scholarly journal articles have been published about
city magazines since the rebirth of the genre in the 1960s,
and some of these have not dealt exclusively with city
magazines. Most have employed surveys of editors and
publishers as a primary means of gathering information, and
most have appeared in _Journalism Quarterly_. Alan
Fletcher and Fletcher and Bruce G. Vanden Bergh used surveys
to collect information for the articles in _Journalism
Quarterly_ cited earlier (see notes 11 and 12). In addition
to reporting data, both articles made extensive use of
quotations. Ernest C. Hynds also used a survey to collect
data for his _Journalism Quarterly_ article cited earlier
(see note 13).

     Some insights about city magazines can, of course, be
obtained by reviewing articles that deal with broader
topics. In 1981, John P. Hayes, also using a survey,
examined the growth of city/regional magazines and how they
obtained their editorial content.[25] Hayes said the
magazines' popularity could be attributed to such things as
local pride, the failure of some daily newspapers to excite
local readers, leisure time, and the upwardly mobile,
credit card-carrying adult readers who attract advertisers.
He reported that the magazines used a lot of free-lance
material but generally did not pay well and paid on
publication.[26] Madeline M. Muecke's 1967 article in
_Journalism Quarterly_ on the ownership of regional
magazines didn't deal specifically with city magazines but
did include area-of-a-city, city, metropolitan,
area-of-a-state, state, and inter-state magazines in its
definition of regional.[27] Gene Burd's 1973 article in
_Journalism Quarterly_ didn't deal specifically with city
magazines either, but it did provide useful background
information for their study as it explored articles about
urban areas in various magazines.[28] Anthony McGann and
Judith and J. Thomas Russell touched on regional and metro
magazines in their 1983 study of advertising pricing, but
their primary focus was on metro editions of national

Papers, Dissertations, and Theses

     City magazines have been the subjects of occasional
papers presented at scholarly meetings, a number of master's
theses, and at least one doctoral dissertation during the
past several decades. Gene Burd and Dianne C. Young
reported on "Criticism of News Media in City Magazines" at
the 1978 meeting of the Association for Education in
Journalism and Mass Communication in Seattle. After
studying 420 articles obtained in a survey of city and
regional magazines, they concluded that these magazines
had adopted media criticism as a standard editorial
practice. Most of the articles concerned local media
performance and power. Common criticisms were that
newspapers were inaccurate, sensational, and without
substance; that they boost and protect "sacred cows" rather
than criticize, that they ignore problems and issues out of
self-interest; and that they allow advertising and class
pressures to influence the news.[30]

     Alan D. Fletcher and Bruce G. Vanden Bergh presented a
paper on growth and problems among metropolitan magazines at
the 1981 meeting of the Association for Education in
Journalism and Mass Communication in East Lansing, Mich.
Their paper, based on the findings of a questionnaire sent
to publishers and editors, indicated that community pride
was the biggest reason for the rapid increase in popularity
of local magazines. They also noted the fact that
advertisers are drawn to the magazines in an effort to reach
their affluent and educated audiences.[31]

     Rob Wiley discussed "The Literature of City Magazines"
at the 1987 meeting of the Association for Education in
Journalism and Mass Communication in San Antonio, Texas. He
suggested that the research literature on city magazines
could be divided into five primary sources: books on
magazines, popular magazines/journals and newspapers,
business magazines, scholarly journals, and unpublished

       Vicki Hesterman explored the impact that advertisers
have on the content and mission of city and regional
magazines in a paper presented to the 1989 meeting of the
Association for Education in Journalism and Mass
Communication in Washington, D.C. It was titled "A Delicate
Balance: Communication Between Editorial and Advertising
Departments at Local (City and Regional) Magazines."

     Ernest C. Hynds has presented three papers on city
magazines to meetings of scholarly groups. He mentioned
city and regional magazines in his discussion of "The Recent
Rise of Southern Magazines" at the 1982 meeting of the
Association for Education in Journalism and Mass
Communication in Athens, Ohio; he provided a brief history
of _Atlanta_ magazine at the 1984 meeting of the American
Journalism Historians Association in Tallahassee, Fla.; and
he discussed the diverse roles and potential of city
magazines at the 1993 meeting of the Association for
Education in Journalism and Mass Communication in Kansas
City, Mo. He employed historical and qualitative
methodology in the first two papers mentioned and a survey
of city magazines in the most recent one.[33]

     Vicki Hesterman provided a summary of the literature of
city and regional magazines and offered specific conclusions
and recommendations regarding the practices and policies of
these magazines in her 1988 doctoral dissertation, "Ethical
Standards of American Magazines: The Practices and Policies
of City and Regional Publications." Much of the information
reported in the dissertation was obtained from a
questionnaire that was mailed to the magazines.
Unfortunately, she found that only a few of the magazines
reported having formal or written ethical guidelines.
"Some," she said, "saw a need for such standards; others
regarded their publication as profit-oriented, boosterish,
and not in need of rules guiding other magazines in the
genre." She reported that more than 50 percent accepted
free tickets, more than 60 percent lacked policies on
conflicts of interest, and more than 75 percent said
editorial decisions were influenced by advertising concerns.
Hesterman concluded that "it is time that magazines in
general, and city and regional magazines in particular be
scrutinized as carefully as are other media."[34]

     Various aspects of city magazines are covered in the
dozen or so master's theses completed in recent decades.
Fairly typical are Candace Hughes's content analysis of nine
selected city magazines for an M.S.J. at Ohio University in
1988, Anita Grant McGraw's study of the role of city and
regional magazines and their publishers for an M.A. at the
University of Mississippi in 1982, and Patricia A. Kurtz's
study of the relationship between metropolitan magazines and
locally edited Sunday newspaper supplements for an M.A. at
California State University, Fullerton in 1982.[35]

Books, Trade Journals, Consumer Magazines, Newspapers

     City magazines are specifically treated in several
books on magazines; they are at least mentioned in most
general books on magazines and books on the mass media; they
are dealt with indirectly in books on magazine advertising,
economics, typography, free-lance writing and other topical
subjects; and they are the topic of many articles in trade
journals, journalism reviews, consumer magazines, and
newspapers. City magazines are the subject matter of Sam G.
Riley and Gary W. Selnow, eds., _Regional Interest Magazines
of the United States_ discussed earlier. A number of city
magazines are profiled in Alan and Barbara Nourie, eds.,
_American Mass-Market Magazines_, published in 1990; and a
number of them are discussed in William H. Taft, _American
Magazines for the 1980s_, published in 1982; and _John
Tebbel and Mary Ellen Zuckerman, _The Magazine in America,
1741-1990_, published in 1991.[36]

     Trade journals and some members of the popular press
have been principal sources of information about the
continued development of city, state, and regional magazines
in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Trade publications such
as _Folio_, _Advertising Age_, and _Marketing and Media
Decisions_ have provided extensive coverage of the field.
_Columbia Journalism Review_ and similar publications have
run articles occasionally. Consumer magazines such as
 _Time_, _Newsweek_, and _Business Week_ have provided
frequent coverage, and newspapers such as the _New York
Times_, the _Wall Street Journal_, the _Chicago Tribune_,
and the _Christian Science Monitor_ have provided
continuing coverage, especially of city magazines in their

Other Sources for Research Information

       Researchers can get information about city magazines
from organizations such as the Magazine Publishers of
America, the City and Regional Magazine Association, and
the American Society of Magazine Editors. They can look
for new magazines in Samir Husni's _Guide to New Magazines_
[37], _Gale Directory of Publications and Broadcast Media_,
_U.S. Regional Publications Directory_, _Standard Rate &
Data_, and _Ulrich's International Periodicals Directory_.
They can also look in basic bibliographies such as Eleanor
Blum and Francis Wilhoit, _Mass Media Bibliography:
Reference, Research, and Reading_[38], _Journalism
Abstracts_, and _Communication Abstracts_.

            Suggestions for Future Research

     Individual city magazines most likely have engaged in
the types of research identified by Jacobson in his study of
"Research Activity of Magazine Publishers" discussed
earlier. According to him the top ten types of research
conducted by magazines included reader profiles, used by 79
percent; market studies, 58 percent; buying influence and
intention, 57 percent; marketing and circulation, 53
percent; editorial effectiveness, 51 percent; surveys for
article ideas and competitive publication analysis, each 50
percent; competitive readership analysis, 47 percent;
syndicated readership studies, 40 percent; and reader
traffic studies, 34 percent.[39] City magazines, as other
magazines, probably should pursue these kinds of research to
help determine who their readers are, what they want, and
what types of advertising they will support.

     Most academic research of city magazines has involved
surveys of editors and publishers, and many of these studies
can be updated periodically to get a fresh picture. Surveys
also can be used to explore new topics such as what types of
research are conducted by city magazines. Surveys are a
relatively inexpensive way of obtaining information about
the magazines and those that produce or use them. Readers
and non-readers can be questioned along with magazine
personnel to get a clearer picture of what the magazine is

     Focus groups and reader panels might provide even more
effective ways for city magazines to interact with their
readers and determine what they like and don't like about
their magazines. Focus group participants could be asked
about community projects and issues in which the magazine is
interested as well as about headlines, columns, features,
graphics, layout, and other aspects of the magazine itself.
Reader panels could rank articles or other materials on a
number of scales to ascertain levels of interest,
readership, and usefulness.

     Agenda-setting would also appear to be a worthwhile
area for research about city magazines. Agenda-setting
theory suggests that the media in their selection of what to
talk and write about help set the agenda for public
discussion. Presumably if the media give attention to
something, their consumers assume that it is important.
Agenda-setting research looks at the relationship between
what the media think is important and what their audiences
think is important. Many interesting questions can grow out
of this. Do city magazines see agenda setting as one of
their functions? To what extent, if any, are they seeking
to encourage public discussion and action on issues? If
they are seeking to set agendas, how are they going about
it? How much influence are they exerting and in what areas?

     Content analysis, which has been used in a few city
magazine studies, also appears to be a good outlet for
additional study. Researchers can study content to see how
city magazines compare with each other or how a particular
city magazine's content has changed over the years. Such
studies could document, or at times perhaps disprove, the
assertions of staff members answering questionnaires
concerning what the magazine is doing. Content analysis
could suggest trends in a particular magazine or city
magazines generally. It would, for example, be interesting
to determine if magazines that have been cited for
investigative reporting in the past are as involved in it
today or if magazines such as _San Diego_ that have been
cited as alternative voices to local newspapers in the past
are as effective today in providing that choice.

     Since research on city magazines to date has been
limited, the possibilities for future research appear almost
limitless. Potential researchers can find many trails to
pursue by looking through one or more of the good media
research books available. They might start with _Mass Media
Research: An Introduction_ by Roger D. Wimmer and Joseph R.
Dominick. It's now in its third edition.[40] All types of
research that can help city magazines serve their readers,
owners, employees, advertisers, and communities more
effectively should be considered. The potential of city
magazines to serve as catalysts for positive change in
their communities should be pursued along with their
potential as entertainers and purveyors of advertising
and general information. City magazines that successfully
mix serious reporting and commentary with guides to leisure-
time fun can exert infuence and provide service far beyond
their numbers. Research can help them find the right
mixtures for their markets.


     [1] Ben L. Moon, "City Magazines, Past and Present,"
Journalism Quarterly 47:4 (Winter 1970): 711.

     [2] Theodore Peterson, Magazines in the Twentieth
Century, 2nd ed. (Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press,
1964), 79.

     [3] Herbert Fleming, "Magazines of a Market
Metropolis," (Ph.D. diss., University of Chicago, 1906)
cited in Gene Burd, "Urban Magazine Journalism Thrives
During City Crises," Journalism Quarterly 50:1 (Spring
1973): 78.

     [4] Moon, 712.

     [5] Peterson, 320.

     [6] John Tebbel, "City Magazines: A Medium Reborn,"
Saturday Review, 9 March 1968, 103.

     [7] For a complete look at population changes, see the
U.S. Census Reports for 1960 and 1970. A good summary of
the changes discussed here may be found in the "Cities and
Urban Affairs" section of Britannica Book of the Year 1969,

     [8] "City Magazines Are the Talk of the Town," Business
Week, 18 February 1967, 184.

     [9] Tebbel, 102.

     [10] "A Shortcut to Status," Newsweek, 2 September
1968, 44.

     [11] Alan D. Fletcher, "City Magazines Find a Niche in
the Media Marketplace," Journalism Quarterly 54:4 (Winter
1977): 740-743, 749.

     [12] Alan D. Fletcher and Bruce G. Vanden Bergh,
"Numbers Grow, Problems Remain for City Magazines," in
Journalism Quarterly 59:2 (Summer 1982): 313-317.

     [13] Ernest C. Hynds, "City Magazines, Newspapers Serve
in Different Ways," Journalism Quarterly 56:3 (Autumn
1979): 621-622.

     [14] David Shaw, "List Grows: Magazines of the Cities,
A Success Story," Los Angeles Times, 5 April 1976, 3.

     [15] Ernest C. Hynds, "Today's Diverse City Magazines
Have Many Roles, Much Potential," Paper presented to the
Association for Education in Journalism and Mass
Communication annual meeting in Kansas City, MO, 1993.

     [16] Thomas Jacobson, "Research Activity of Magazine
Publishers," Journalism Quarterly 65:2 (Summer 1988): 511.

     [17] Ibid.

     [18] Ibid., 512-513.

     [19] Sam G. Riley and Gary W. Selnow, eds., Regional
Interest Magazines of the United States (Westport, CT:
Greenwood Press, 1991), 418.

     [20] Ibid., comps., Index to City and Regional
Magazines of the United States (Westport, CT.: Greenwood
Press, 1989), 130.

     [21] Sam G. Riley, Magazines of the American South (New
York: Greenwood Press, 1986), 346.

     [22] Ibid., comp., Index to Southern Periodicals
(Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1986), 459.

     [23] Ibid., "Specialized Magazines of the South,"
Journalism Quarterly 59:3 (Autumn 1982): 447-450, 455.

     [24] Sam G. Riley and Gary Selnow, "Southern Magazine
Publishing, 1764-1984," Journalism Quarterly 65:4 (Winter
1988): 898-901.

     [25] John P. Hayes, "City/Regional Magazines: A
Survey/Census," Journalism Quarterly 58:2 (Summer 1981):

     [26] Ibid.

     [27] Madeline M. Muecke, "Ownership Forms of Regional
Magazines," Journalism Quarterly 44:3 (Autumn 1967):

     [28] Gene Burd, "Urban Magazine Journalism Thrives
During City Crises," Journalism Quarterly 50:1 (Spring
1973): 77-82, 108.

     [29] Anthony F. McGann, Judith F. Russell, and J.
Thomas Russell, "Variable Pricing in Advertising Space For
Regional and Metro Magazines," Journalism Quarterly 60:2
(Summer 1983): 269-274, 322.

     [30] Gene Burd and Dianne C. Young, "Criticism of News
Media in City Magazines," Paper presented at the annual
meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism
and Mass Communication, Seattle, WA, August 1978.

     [31] Alan D. Fletcher and Bruce G. Vanden Burgh,
"Metropolitan Magazine Boom Continues, but Problems Remain,"
Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Association
for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, East
Lansing, MI, August 1981.

     [32] Rob Wiley, "The Literature of City Magazines,"
Paper presented to the annual meeting of the Association
for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, San
Antonio, TX, August 1987.

     [33] Ernest C. Hynds, "The Recent Rise of Southern
Magazines," Paper presented to the annual meeting of the
Association for Education in Journalism and Mass
Communication, Athens, OH, July 1982; "`Only the Best for
Atlanta': A Brief History of Atlanta Magazine," Paper
presented to the annual meeting of the American
Journalism Historians Association in Tallahassee, FL,
October 1984; see also note 15.

     [34] Vicki Hesterman, "Ethical Standards of American
Magazines: The Practices and Policies of City and Regional
Publications," (Ph.D. diss., Ohio University, Athens, OH,

     [35] Candace Hughes, "A Content Analysis of Selected
City Magazines," (Master's thesis, Ohio Univesity, 1988);
Anita Grant McGraw, "The Role of City and Regional Magazines
and Their Publishers in Society Today," (Master's thesis,
University of Mississippi, 1982); and Patricia A. Kurtz, "A
Study of the Relationship Between Metropolitan Magazines and
Locally Edited Newspaper Supplements," (Master's thesis,
California State University, Fullerton, 1982).

     [36] Alan and Barbara Nourie, eds., American
Mass-Market Magazines (Westport, CT.: Greenwood Press,
1990), 611; William H. Taft, American Magazines for the
1980s (New York: Hastings House, 1982), 382; John Tebbel and
Mary Ellen Zuckerman, The Magazine in America, 1741-1990
(New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991), 434; see
also note 19.

     [37] Samir Husni, Samir Husni's Guide to New Magazines
(University, MS: University of Mississippi Department of
Journalism, 1988).

     [38] Eleanor Blum and Francis Wilhoit, Mass Media
Bibliography: Reference, Research, and Reading (Urbana, IL:
University of Illinois Press, 1990).

     [39] Jacobson, 511.

     [40] Roger D. Wimmer and Joseph R. Dominick, Mass Media
Research: An Introduction (Belmont, CA.: Wadsworth, Inc,
Author Information: Ernest C. Hynds
                    Grady College of Journalism and Mass
                    University of Georgia
                    Athens, GA 30602
                      Copyright 1994
   Communication Institute for Online Scholarship, Inc.

     This file may not be publicly distributed or reproduced
without written permission of the Communication Institute
for Online Scholarship, P.O.  Box 57, Rotterdam Jct., NY
12150 USA (phone:  518-887-2443).