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Does reading a magazine affect your behavior?

Sunday, October 10th, 2010

Lucky MagazineTo paraphrase the great Daniel Okrent, of course it does.

But I need evidence.

I’m about to spend a few days scouring the country for signs that, for example, receiving your college’s alumni magazine makes you more likely to donate to your college. That receiving a AAA magazine makes you more likely to remain a AAA member. That receiving Lucky makes you more likely to go shopping.

Obviously all these things are true. But from the calls I’ve made so far, I’m starting to worry that this research has never been done, at least by academics. After a string of calls to the MPA, MMC, and my own j-school, the only lead I’ve turned up is some evidence that taking the newspaper makes you more likely to vote.

Aha, just what the industry needs: more spinach.

Sponsored print distribution is one of the few models for journalism that seems steadfastly profitable. Wouldn’t it be nice if, in addition to research demonstrating the civic virtue of the jobs they used to have, journalism professors were doing more research testing the commercial value of new ideas? If you happen to know of any who have, drop me a line.