Hot Type: Editor’s Letter

As our 33rd annual Hot List illustrates, emotional, tactile magazines can still capture the imagination

Headshot of James Cooper

I recently had the unenviable task of purging the house that I grew up in in suburban New Jersey—certainly a messy physical and emotional task in which tough calls had to be made about jettisoning items that had surrounded me my entire life.

Among the things that got the heave-ho were stacks of old issues of Time and National Geographic—the family’s two magazine staples. These were surprisingly hard to part with. In many ways, before cable news and the Web, they were my primers for understanding the world through great reporting and photography. They were also an emotionally tactile experience in that the family shared the same copies, then discussed, debated and occasionally brawled about their content over dinners of turkey tetrazzini and green beans with almond slivers.

While the magazine industry is in transition, its ability to engage, inform and entertain has not diminished. For our 33rd annual Hot List, we celebrate the best in magazine publishing, as well as the hottest television properties and digital media.

For three decades, the Hot List was focused solely on magazines. While we have greatly expanded the franchise, the focus on print remains, heavily reinforced by our Hot List Readers’ Poll on It attracted more than 1 million votes—with the large majority cast in the print category. 

Back to New Jersey. Mixed in with those magazines destined for the dumpster were several issues of Architectural Forum, a long-defunct title published by Time Inc. (My mother happened to work there as an associate editor in the mid-’60s, following stints at Time and Life.) Perfect-bound and printed on heavy, nonglossy paper, the magazine is dense with text. Clearly, people had a lot more time to read in 1965.

I cut out the masthead and framed it for my mom. She hung it over the desk in her new apartment where stacks of Time are again beginning to appear.

@jcoopernyc James Cooper is editorial director of Adweek.
Publish date: December 3, 2012 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT