Why More! Magazine’s Closure Makes Me Sad

Closure of More! magazine UK

 

It’s always sad saying goodbye to something you grew up with. That’s why there were tears when Take That split up in 1996 (if only we’d known back then that they’d reform in 2006.) That’s why there were groups of 20-something friends drinking wine while watching the last ever episode of Friends going out on C4 (if only we’d known back then that it would be repeated on telly every day until the end of time.)

And that’s why this week there was great sadness when it was announced that More! magazine will be closing. Not just sadness from the team (who went straight to the pub to neck cocktails and wine when they were told the news at 10am on Monday), not just sadness from people who used to work for the magazine (my Twitter feed was filled with respected glossy magazine and broadsheet journalists talking about having once worked there) but sadness from, well, pretty much every 20 and 30 something female who grew up reading the mag.

I was a nine-year-old Bunty reader when More! launched in 1988 and it wasn’t until I was 14 that the magazine was on my radar. As an ardent Smash Hits and Just 17 reader, the 14-year-old Alison would flick through More! in the newsagent and snigger at Position Of The Fortnight and the Sex Confessions. Aged 19, I was a regular reader, turning my nose up at my flatmate’s issue of Marie Claire in favour of More!’s humour and laddishness. It was so refreshing to have a magazine that called a spade a spade. It talked about girls drinking lots and going out on the pull – and it was genuinely funny. Working on other magazines, in my early 20s, More! was regularly held up by editors as an example of a magazine with brilliant personality and tone. We aspired to write as well as the More! writers did and come up with ideas as original as the ideas they generated. As a young writer, it was one of the magazines on my “Would Love To Work For” list (also on that list: Smash Hits, Heat and Glamour). Working on More! for five years was simply brilliant. It was an office filled with gossip, laughter, music (mostly John Barrowman showtunes at one point) and talent.

So I’m pretty sad that the magazine will be closing, after 25 years, but not just for nostalgia’s sake. I’m sad because More! magazine’s demise is indicative of the decline of young people reading magazines. Even though in recent years, More! wasn’t aimed at teenagers (I believe the age of the average reader was 24), it was read by teenagers, and teenagers just aren’t buying magazines like they used to. In fact, the number of teen mags that have closed in the last ten years is depressing. ELLEGirl, Cosmo Girl, TVHits, cd:uk, Smash Hits, Sneak, Sugar – all brilliant in their day but no longer with us, due to dwindling copy sales.

It leaves me wondering whether there will be any teenage magazines left in 11 years, when my daughter Grace turns 13 (Bliss and Mizz magazines – I’m counting on you to keep going.) Where will she read problem pages and learn about the stuff agony aunt Anita Naik talked about in Just 17? Where will she read real life stories about girls facing emotional challenges that will make her wonder ‘How would I cope with that?’. Where will she get that feeling of support and of being part of a friendly community? Of course, I realise that the main culprit behind fewer young people are buying magazines is the internet, and you could argue that there are plenty of good teenage websites that can offer all of this, and more. But at risk of sounding like an old person, it’s not the same.

Luckily, us mums hold the key to solving this problem. It’s simple. The answer is pre-school magazines. My toddler loves them – whether it’s Peppa Pig magazine, CBeebies magazine or Favourites – and as mums, all we need to do is encourage our kids to read magazines, to grow up loving them, to allow them to form weekly reading habits, moving onto older titles as they grow, and then by the time they hit 13, the publishing world will have taken notice of this trend and new teen mag launches will spring up just when we need them.

I love technology. I’m a huge geek. But let’s not allow magazines to die out. They rock.

 

 

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23 thoughts on “Why More! Magazine’s Closure Makes Me Sad

    • Yes it’ll be really interesting to see how well it does, Rachel. I’m trying to remember if we had a UK version of Teen Vogue around ten years ago which folded – we def had ELLE Girl here.

  1. What a fab post! Like you I grew up with those magazines and although I stopped in my early 20′s they were a big part of my ‘growing up’ time. It is so sad that they are dying out, indicative of the new ‘computer generation’ I suppose, but as much as I read a lot on my iPad, you can’t beat a good magazine. I may have changed the type of magazine I buy now, but I still love them.
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    • I agree – I’m the biggest geek going but I just prefer to read a physical magazine or book! (Don’t tell my parents who got me a Kindle for my last birthday!)

  2. well said! The scary thing about our children accessing information on the internet is that there’s so much dodgy stuff on there which we don’t want to encourage them to go anyway near. Teen mags were/are a safe place for the readers to get support and not feel so alone.

    • Definitely, Michelle. There’s a level of responsibility on the teams of all teen and youth mags. I’ve been part of many a conversation about not printing certain photos that show a celeb looking too thin or not running a certain story in case it encourages self harm. It bothers me that some feminist groups have this skewed vision of teen – and women’s – mags where they think the staff sit around thinking “right how can we f*ck up women in the head and make them feel shit about themselves” – as if that would ever be how it works. I’ve only ever worked on mags where the staff genuinely want to help readers solve life problems and boost their confidence.

  3. I am very sad to hear this and completely agree with you about toddler magazines being a way to encourage reading. One of the things my 4 year old likes is when we buy him a cbeebies magazine and go to a local coffee shop where i enjoy my coffee and we flick through the magazine together!

    • That’s such a lovely tradition to have. My toddler gets a magazine every time she visits her grandparents’ house and she gets so excited about them.

  4. Ah that is sad to here about More! – it was also the one that got me through my teen years too! It’s always sad to hear about a magazine closing down – I was at emap when Smash Hits closed – that was a sad day (even though the mag I worked for was MEED (no, not mead from ugly Betty, but middle eastern economic digest!)
    I do hope that mags will still be around when my little people are teens too but they’re getting expensive – as much as I love mags and comics for my kids, I paid £3.99 for a toddler one today (now I have two kids, I think £8 for 2 preschooler comics is a bit steep!) at this rate, a teen mag in 10 years time will cost more than a months pocket money!

    Poor More! And best of luck for the whole team!

    • I know what you mean, Emma. They’re definitely a treat rather than something most people can buy every week. I guess the publishing companies have to sell them at that price to make any money otherwise they wouldn’t.

    • I used to get mine delivered from the newsagents so every Wednesday would get so excited about the papers arriving so I could read it over breakfast.

  5. I doubt there’ll be any teenage magazines left in 5 years’ time. My 13 year old used to love Mizz but then they bumped up the cover mount and the price as well so she stopped buying it. I’ve even heard her say “I used to love reading Mizz but £5 is too much for a magazine”. Instead she reads books, websites and blogs, First News in the school library and Metro if somebody leaves it on the school bus.

    Glossy magazines are a luxury purchase for most of us, and in the current economic climate they need to try harder to connect with their readers to keep them. It’s a real shame that More has folded but not altogether surprising. Whatever your toddler ends up reading when she’s a teen, it probably won’t be a magazine as we know them.
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