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Reader's Digest - History, Content & Evolution

A presentation on Reader's Digest - done for an assignment in college.

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Reader's Digest - History, Content & Evolution

  1. An Analytical Study
  2. What’s Reader’s Digest? <ul><li>Family Magazine </li></ul><ul><li>Monthly </li></ul><ul><li>General Interest </li></ul><ul><li>Politically Conservative </li></ul><ul><li>Upbeat </li></ul><ul><li>Pro-American </li></ul><ul><li>Best-selling monthly magazine in the world </li></ul>
  3. It’s Beginnings <ul><li>DeWitt Wallace conceived the idea of a magazine containing condensed articles from many popular magazines while recovering from World War I injuries. </li></ul>DeWitt & Lila Wallace
  4. It’s Beginnings – Facts & Figures <ul><li>First issue - February 5, 1922 </li></ul><ul><li>First published from home </li></ul><ul><li>Initially 10¢ a copy by mail </li></ul><ul><li>Newsstands – 1929 </li></ul><ul><li>1 Million Copies circulation was achieved in 1935 (US) </li></ul><ul><li>10 Billion Copies – 1994 (US) </li></ul>
  5. Vision <ul><li>The magazine's mission as set out by the Wallaces is to include one article for each day of the month </li></ul><ul><li>Each article should be of &quot; enduring value and interest &quot; </li></ul>
  6. Nature of the Contents <ul><li>Original articles </li></ul><ul><li>Condensed articles reprinted from other magazines </li></ul><ul><li>Book excerpts </li></ul><ul><li>Collections of jokes </li></ul><ul><li>Anecdotes </li></ul><ul><li>Quotations </li></ul><ul><li>Cartoons </li></ul><ul><li>and other short pieces. </li></ul><ul><li>Articles tend to be short to allow busy readers to keep up with a variety of topics without investing too much time. </li></ul>
  7. Topics & Regulars <ul><li>Regulars </li></ul><ul><li>&quot; Word Power “ - a vocabulary-building quiz </li></ul><ul><li>&quot; Life in These United States “ - a collection of humorous or profound reader-submitted anecdotes (US Edition) </li></ul><ul><li>&quot; Laughter, the Best Medicine &quot; a collection of jokes submitted by readers </li></ul><ul><li>True Stories </li></ul><ul><li>People </li></ul><ul><li>Columnists’ Sections </li></ul><ul><li>National Interest </li></ul><ul><li>Health </li></ul><ul><li>Games & Humor </li></ul><ul><li>RD Living </li></ul><ul><li>» Food </li></ul><ul><li>» Family </li></ul><ul><li>» Home & Garden </li></ul><ul><li>» Money </li></ul>
  8. Editorial Procedures <ul><li>One of the most carefully edited magazines in the world </li></ul><ul><li>Articles are fact-checked for authenticity and controlled by an elaborate editorial hierarchy to ensure that the final product is integrated into the discourse </li></ul><ul><li>This discourse is highly homogeneous and articulates a very specific set of conservative values which the magazine deems to be important aspects of the dominant representation of American society </li></ul><ul><li>The Reader's Digest model has been introduced in many countries around the world, in issues that are customized to a certain extent with local content , without presenting the magazine as an American product. </li></ul>
  9. Structure <ul><li>Usually one survival story (called &quot;Drama in Real Life&quot;) </li></ul><ul><li>Normally at least one individual achievement story </li></ul><ul><li>At least one medical article </li></ul><ul><li>Several moralizing stories on human relations </li></ul><ul><li>Several articles with practical advice </li></ul><ul><li>Some politically inspired stories in which bureaucracy, crime, radical ideologies and other behavior inconsistent with the dominant ideology of the magazine are exposed </li></ul>
  10. Internal Structure <ul><li>Corresponds to an elaborate and fixed model. </li></ul><ul><li>The survival stories have a blurb presenting the drama in medias res (in the middle), then return in time with an elaborate description of the initial situation. </li></ul><ul><li>Rescue doesn't come at the very last paragraph: there is always time to restore the initial peace and formulate a lesson. </li></ul><ul><li>The last sentences often thank the Lord or mention the medals awarded to the story's heroes. </li></ul>
  11. The Discourse <ul><li>Individual achievement. Digest characters are always struggling, against bad luck, against systems and regulations, against diseases, and their only weapons are their own courage, cooperation between individuals, and an occasional helping hand from God. </li></ul><ul><li>Optimism. Most Digest stories have happy endings. There is only one other case: the article may acknowledge in the end that there are still many difficulties to overcome, and give advice. </li></ul><ul><li>Moral conservatism. Though the Digest has from the beginning written very openly on sexuality, it has always been emphatically in favor of traditional marriage, loyalty to country, discipline and charity, and generally opposed to feminism, free love and affirmative action. </li></ul><ul><li>Free market economy. In almost every issue, the magazine opposes taxes, government regulations, budget increases, labor unions and, for many decades, the Communist system. </li></ul>
  12. International editions <ul><li>First international edition – United Kingdom, 1938 </li></ul><ul><li>Worldwide circulation: 21 million copies </li></ul><ul><li>Readership over 1 billion readers </li></ul><ul><li>49 foreign editions, accounting for about 50% of its trade volume </li></ul>
  13. Localization Procedures <ul><li>American articles are integrated within the local context </li></ul><ul><li>Local editions avoid reprinting articles which may touch on sensitive spots in the receiving culture </li></ul><ul><li>Advertisement placement in the local editions are entirely managed by the local staff and reflect local products. </li></ul><ul><li>Considerable efforts are made to give the foreign editions a local look </li></ul><ul><li>Selected articles are translated by local translators and the translations edited by the local editors to make them match the &quot;well-educated informal&quot; style of the American edition. </li></ul>
  14. Other Editions <ul><li>Large-type edition called Reader's Digest Large Type </li></ul><ul><li>Hardcover &quot;Condensed Books&quot; issued 4 times a years, each one containing short condensations of several newly published novels or inspirational memoirs </li></ul><ul><li>Readers Digest also sells recordings of early big band music, romantic ballads, and various other products </li></ul>
  15. Design – The Beginnings
  16. Design – The Present
  17. Design – The Present
  18. Design – Other Countries
  19. Design – Large Format Edition
  20. Contents Page
  21. Articles
  22. Cartoons
  23. <ul><li>Thank You! </li></ul>