RIP Teen Vogue As We Know It

Unfortunate news for subscribers and readers of Teen Vogue - the last physical issue will soon fall into your mailboxes and the magazine racks of stores.

Its publisher, Condé Nast, has announced a downsizing of its print department. Other titles will experience a decrease in frequency such as GQ and Glamour, which will be decreased from 12 to 11 issues per year. Last year, Teen Vogue decreased from nine to four issues and so sending its printing to the chopping block for the next year was not completely out of the blue.Editor-in-Chief Elaine Welteroth, who has become the face of Teen Vogue after gaining praise and attention for her political spin on Teen Vogue (an example article under her direction being “Donald Trump is Gaslighting America”) reported in 2016 that “the old silos between print and digital just don’t exist (…) Each is equally invested in and crucial to the success of Teen Vogue across platforms.” Similarly, Teen Vogue’s digital editorial director, Phillip Picardi, stated that teens still desired a physical magazine to cut up, collect, and pin to their walls as was done in the past. Both powers seemed to believe in the print publications of Teen Vogue just last year. So what changed?

For millennials, there was once an over saturation of teen magazines such as Elle Girl, Teen People, CosmoGIRL, and YM. By 2008 each of these were canceled by their publishers. Only two remained.

For me, as part of Generation Z, I spent my teen years in the pages of the two survivors - Seventeen and Teen Vogue. I have cut them to shreds to make mood boards (pictured below), used their images to decorate school projects, and taken their advice countless times. Teen Vogue specifically was unique in its artistic images and display of high fashion. Trying to read Vogue seemed difficult and boring, but its sister publication held my interest and taught me about the word of fashion. As cheesy as it sounds, print magazines were a trusty older sister for me. I never would have thought to ask questions about topics like teen vaping or safe sex beyond the rigid health class curriculum, but the mature and important articles have helped increase my understanding and shape my views about many subjects.Social media and the internet has provided teen readers with instantaneous results for how to talk to the cute boy in history class, a vast array of replicable video makeup tutorials, and enough horoscopes to make one’s head spin. Information that for teen print magazines takes at least a month to arrive is now available 24/7 and for free. 

Though online publications are also full of great articles, it is set up by categories and search engines to locate exactly what you’re looking for. If you are in need of relationship advice you no longer have to notice the women’s health info graphic on the next page or flip through the article about preventing sexual assault on college campuses. Personally, I am not one to visit a political section on a magazine’s website. However, if it’s in the physical magazine, I will read the whole thing cover to cover. Pulling physical publications of teen magazines could potentially narrow the types of information teens receive and read about to be limited to their preconceived interests.

On the flip side, digital publications can have a 24/7 news cycle. In the case of Teen Vogue in 2017, readers could wait as many as three months before the newest publication- delaying important conversations until they are no longer as relevant in the fast-paced information world of the internet and social media. Readers crave answers and explanations quickly. By converting more time and money into their digital platform, Teen Vogue can discuss social issues and current events with more relevancy, informing readers at the time of importance so that those readers can then engage in the social issue while it is happening.YM, Elle Girl, CosmoGIRL, and Teen People never made it with their digital sites. Only time will tell if Teen Vogue will meet a different fate. Unlike the other publications, Teen Vogue has a higher political focus and can utilize social media in a way that was never possible before. A study conducted by Clover Letter (a mobile media company) and Cassandra (a marketing firm) found that Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are the prime sources of news for Generation Z. Digital seems to be possibly the best avenue for addressing teens, however, has it ever succeeded on its own? A purely digital success story has proven so far to be possible through BuzzFeed. In 2016, Funt, Fourarie, and Murtha conducted a study on digital vs. print credibility. Focusing on BuzzFeed and The New Yorker, they found that “a 10-year-old website that began filling out its investigative unit less than three years ago came close to matching the clout of a 91-year-old magazine of indisputable prominence. That, along with the seemingly inexorable rise of digital news consumption, suggests that any lingering credibility gap between online and print brands is closing.” Through shares, follows, likes, and retweets, Teen Vogue has the resources to succeed, especially in their news coverage as digital credibility increases.

Good luck to Teen Vogue digital and RIP to Teen Vogue in print. You will be missed.