Five days a week for the past five years, I’ve been putting together the lineup for the Daily Feed, Professional Builder’s email newsletter for our readers. At the end of each day and the beginning of the next, I peruse the feeds of publications from around the country to find news stories and reports that, hopefully, will provide you with insight into the issues of the day on topics as wide-ranging as legislation, demographics, industry statistics, building codes, and consumer trends. (Want the skinny on kitchens? Quartz countertops, white cabinets, and wood-look porcelain flooring. But check back again next month.)
Believe it or not, I scan nearly 1,000 headlines each day to come up with the six or seven stories we run in the newsletter. The daily news cycle being what it is, many news outlets carry stories on the same topic with, perhaps, a bit of a twist to make it their own. Some of these articles even draw opposite conclusions from the same set of facts, but interestingly, these neck-snappers often have good arguments for doing so. On some occasions, I include both versions, so readers can decide for themselves which of the stories makes more sense or come to their own conclusion that the truth falls somewhere in between.
The thing about the daily news is that it’s invaluable for alerting us to what’s going on in the moment and letting us know what we should pay attention to and what to be wary of. But it takes time and perspective to see the full picture and gauge what the ramifications of an event might be.
Which is why I love magazines. They offer a longer view, not the quick jolt you get from an email or a tweet that serves the same purpose as an amuse-bouche at a fancy restaurant; that is, quick hits that heighten your senses but leave you hungry for more information. Magazines are not like books, either, which may take years to write, generally require an enormous amount of research and, ideally, provide all sides of a story. Most importantly, books offer an opportunity to delve deeply into events and draw conclusions that will, with a bit of luck, stand the test of time.
Instead, magazines portray a moment in time, but in a much more comprehensive way than news pieces. As with books, there’s a lot of research involved in magazine writing, but it focuses on what’s happening currently—on a particular subject occurring around the country, for example, in lieu of isolated incidents.
The best and perhaps most useful part of a magazine story is often its accompanying art, which tells the same story as the text but as a visual presentation. What would a how-to story be without illustrations showing exactly how a project is executed? What writer could sufficiently describe the beauty of a home’s design without those perfectly lit and framed photographs of its spaces?
Magazines are the ideal conduit for the kinds of articles that readers—especially of business publications—want and need. But, as you may know, the physical form of that content is currently undergoing a metamorphosis. Websites, e-newsletters, video, and social media are becoming the preferred, and sometimes only, delivery vehicles for many, some of them venerable, publications.
And why not? Readers no longer have to wait for a monthly to come in the mail; content automatically appears in the medium most of us engage with every day: our email. Older articles also can be easily found online, with no hunting through a pile of past issues.
But Professional Builder wants to be wherever our readers want and need us to be, whether that’s our print issue, digital edition, website, newsletters, videos, social media, or our in-person events. We want to give you the ability to decide where and how you receive and consume our content. Our relevance depends not on how we present that content to you, but on how valuable it is to the continued success of your business.
Access a PDF of this article in Professional Builder's August 2019 digital edition