In a time where the digitalisation of media is causing those in print to fear for their lives, a few select magazines have continued to fight for their right to stay relevant. While larger titles attempt to navigate an online world where everyone is a writer and everything matters, independent magazines with small-scale production teams have slowed down and embraced the quiet pace of journalism that matters.
The most important part of print in the digital age is timelessness; online, things become irrelevant in a matter of minutes. Independent magazines have continued to flourish by boycotting the rat-race of sensationalism, they’re non-partisan, they’re inclusive, they’re original. In print, content matters.
It’s much easier on the conscience to delete a webpage than it is to recycle a magazine. Perhaps that’s why so many end up on bookshelves. Because one day something will spark a memory and we will return to an old article, a beautiful photo, or an inspiring interview and remember why we bought a copy in the first place.
Here are Happy Mag’s top ten picks for printed magazines still making the rounds at newsagents the country (and sometimes the world) over.
Independent magazines have come out on top in the fight against the digitalisation of media. Here are our top picks for Australian print magazines that have stuck to their guns.
The Lifted Brow
Based in Melbourne, The Lifted Brow lies at the forefront of independent literary publishing and champions itself on inclusivity of people from artistic, demographic and socioeconomic margins from Australia and around the world.
The team at TLB publish a quarterly print journal of original commentary pieces and literary criticism, and their Brow Books imprint publishes pieces from a variety of genres and styles. The Lifted Brow started way back in 2007 and is one of the only magazines of its kind still running print editions. (The Lifted Brow)
Gusher Magazine came to fruition back in 2016 when creators Juliette Younger and Isabella Trimboli became fed up with the male-dominated, fast-paced nature of the Australian music industry. Now coming into its third round of print, Gusher prides itself on sticking to its core values; its tagline ‘Rock & Roll As Told By Women’ still stands.
All of its contributors are female, female-identifying or non-binary, and its unique perspective breathes new life into an industry that can oftentimes feel stagnant and uninspired. Because the magazine goes to print annually, its features and conversations reject the often fast-paced nature of online editorial and instead embraces nuanced and enduring subjects that stand the test of time.
Gusher is paving the way for printed media in Australia, and its success has translated abroad. Gusher is stocked the world over, proving that consumers are fed up with male saturation and constant media bombardment. (Gusher)
The New Philosopher
Devoted entirely to providing a platform for philosophical conversations and ideas from thinkers past and present, The New Philosopher’s aim is to guide readers into living a happier and freer mode of existence.
Based in Hobart, the magazine caters to both philosophy nerds and to people who have never heard of Jean Paul Satre. They want to make philosophy accessible; an oftentimes intimidating and alienating topic, The New Philosopher aims to remove the ego behind the subject and Make Critical Thinking Great Again. (The New Philosopher)
In a world where Cleos, Vanity Fairs and Cosmopolitans prevail, there seems to be little-to-no representation of women who want to challenge archaic gender stereotypes. Not all women want to read about orgasms, just like not all men want to read about V8s and tinnies. This is where Womankind reigns supreme.
Its aim is to introduce ideas that confront contemporary thought and conditioning in a way that isn’t condescending, as most women’s magazines are. It features a mix of reporting and commentary on culture, creativity, philosophy, nature, and ways to live a more fulfilling life without the sensationalist facade.
Another Hobart-based magazine, Womenkind rejects advertising and instead relies on consumer support. A brave move for a print magazine, but it’s a move that has proved to have paid off. (Womankind)
Founded in Brisbane, No Cure Magazine has transcended Australian audiences and is loved by fans of street art, design, innovative people, music and youth culture the world over. No two issues of No Cure are the same; each print features new designs and fresh editorial content to keep old audiences engaged and new audiences intrigued.
No Cure has established itself as a respectable title in the marketplace and continues to flourish despite digitalisation of larger titles. (No Cure)
In a time when media is often saturated with negativity, it’s sometimes hard to bring yourself back to life. Instead of boycotting mainstream media and deciding to live the rest of your life as a Luddite, choose your weapons wisely. Peppermint is the perfect magazine to bring you back to life. It celebrates things that are good instead of broadcasting all that is evil.
Peppermint’s niche is substance and sustainability; its inspiring and informative editorials focus on slow food, ethical fashion, natural living, health and beauty, diversity and social entrepreneurs. The magazine caters to a rapidly growing number of people who appreciate creativity and artistic practice, but who also care about political, social and environmental matters.
The magazine practices what it preaches; each issue of Peppermint is printed in Australia on PEFC-certified paper at an FSC-certified printer and is 100% carbon neutral. Peppermint proves that it’s cool to care. (Peppermint)
Non-partisan political media are few and far between. Regarded as one of Australia’s boldest voices, The Monthly prides itself on remaining impartial in times of sensationalism. Providing enlightening commentary on contemporary social, cultural, economic, and oftentimes controversial issues is no easy feat, but The Monthly manages to maintain its civic integrity by offering a healthy combination of investigative reportage, critical essays and thoughtful reviews.
Its media siblings are a little more catered to political media; The Monthly, Quarterly Essay, The Saturday Paper and Australian Foreign Affairs all share the same family. If you’re feeling a little out of the cultural loop, The Monthly is sure to impart some knowledge. (The Monthly)
The newest kid on the long-form music journalism block, Swampland provides a space for quality writers to produce timeless works, all within the context of local music. The current climate of magazines and printed media is shifting; as larger publications navigate online content and digital readership, independent and DIY titles are thriving.
In the true spirit of zine culture, Swampland has picked its niche and stuck to it. With such a healthy collection of local up-and-coming musicians and performers birthed from the flames of lock-out laws, digital streaming and social media, it would be silly to follow and report on performers that have stopped benefitting from constant media attention. Swampland prides itself on its inclusive content; it is consistent in its quality and continuously manages to curate content that maintains its relevance. (Swampland)
2018 marks the 15th year of Monster Children’s existence. In a time where major publications are looking to digitalise, Monster Children continues to flourish in print. Why? Because it has managed to keep producing content that transcends time. Its home is on bookshelves and coffee tables, not in recycling bins.
Its main focuses are surfing, skating, music, art and travel. Maybe it has remained successful for so long because its target demographic is everyone? Monster Children, as the magazine describes itself, is a lifestyle. It’s an aesthetic, a vision and an excuse to keep having fun. (Monster Children).
Dumbo Feather provides a platform for people to tell their stories, people who are not necessarily famous or well known but who are important. They feature commentary and long-form articles by changemakers; lawyers, artists, writers, activists, philosophers, teachers, builders, scientists who want to impart their knowledge and wisdom to make the world a more vibrant, open-minded and cohesive place.
Dumbo Feather’s articles are unconventional in the sense that they’re long and uninterrupted; they leave in awkward pauses and uncomfortable laughs because they’re vulnerable and vulnerability is power. It was born in 2003 out of sheer desperation; the founding editor created something that hadn’t existed within Australian media prior. Now Dumbo Feather is one of Australia’s seminal printed magazines. (Dumbo Feather)
In 2019 Happy Mag are upgrading our print issue to a 100-page, perfect bound magazine for the first time.
If you’re passionate about print media, consider supporting Happy Mag Issue 10 here.