Recognizing Different Types of Magazines

Instructor: Beth Hendricks

Beth holds a master's degree in integrated marketing communications, and has worked in journalism and marketing throughout her career.

If there's a topic you're interested in, there's a magazine title out there for it. In this lesson, you'll learn more about the different types of magazines and the audience that each type is intended for.

In the Waiting Room

You're sitting in the waiting room at your physician's office, ticking off the minutes until it's your turn to get called by the nurse. You've cleaned out your purse, responded to all your waiting texts and are just plain bored.

Magazines deliver information on a wide range of topics.

You decide to check out the assortment of magazines lying on a table nearby. There's choices on women's fashion, cooking and sports, as well as a copy of an unusual looking magazine called, The Doctor's Companion and something titled Medical News. You decide your safest bet is one of the first three choices.

Since the very first American magazine was created in the mid-1700s, they've grown in popularity, encompassing all types of interests and genres. The word magazine itself comes from the Arabic word, ''makhazin,'' which means ''storehouse.'' In that way, magazines are a storehouse of different kinds of information put together under one roof (or magazine cover).

There are three main umbrella categories of magazines, under which are numerous types. Let's take a closer look.

Magazine Categories

The most common category of magazines is the general interest publication. These types of magazines are written for a general audience of everyday people. They typically cover a broad range of topics, from food to fashion and entertainment to home/gardening. General interest magazines have a combination of stories, pictures and advertising, bound together with a glossy cover. Common magazine titles in the general interest category include things like People, Good Housekeeping, and The New York Times Magazine.

The other big category of magazines is the special interest collection, with topics that are specific to a particular audience. If you are a fan of fishing, cooking, computers or photography, there is likely a special interest magazine out there that you would enjoy. Like general interest consumer magazines, these are widely available to the public at large.

A third category of magazines are professional in nature, meaning that they contain content for very niche groups of people, such as doctors, bankers or marketers.

Types of Magazines

Under the umbrella of magazine categories, you'll find various types of publications, with titles to suit everyone's tastes.


Many consumer magazines are part of the general interest category of publications. These are magazines covering the news, celebrity and entertainment, business, family, fashion and men's or women's topics -- sometimes all within one issue. These are the types of magazines you'll see at your local superstores and on the shelves of airport convenience stores. Titles you may recognize include Time, Vogue and Reader's Digest.

Inside of each consumer magazine, you'll find topics ranging from the arts to book reviews, business and social issues, gossip, fashion ideas and more. These types of publications tend to have the largest numbers of readers.

Special interest magazines, while still consumer-oriented, focus on a specific topic throughout their issues. Examples of these kinds of magazines include Sports Illustrated, Outdoor Photographer or Chess Life.

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