July | August 2019
Free Article Preview from this issue of Roast magazine
“Is magazine printing really dying?” I used to get frustrated at this line of questioning from friends and acquaintances who noticed titles disappearing from retail racks.
With patience I’ve practiced as a mother of teenagers, I am now able to treat this question with mild amusement instead of frustration. If you have one of the rare copies of Roast issue No. 1, pick it up and compare it with the issue you are now holding. Based on Roast’s continued success and growth, I can say the print magazine industry has most certainly changed, but it is not on the brink of death. A more interesting question may be, “Why are certain businesses in the print industry thriving while others are dying?”
We live in an age of fragmentation and conflicting study after conflicting study (tell me, is coffee healthy or unhealthy today?). There are trends that clash, consumers with the attention span of juiced hummingbirds and a marketing landscape that changes based on which cat is popular on YouTube.
With all the clutter via digital sources, audiences in search of more than just entertainment are looking critically at what voices and information they really trust. They are turning to professionally researched, written and edited content that magazine brands produce across media channels. As the barrier to entry is low, many purely online sources are not reliable, and data is being churned out without proper research or peer review.
Trade and consumer media companies that are thriving in 2019 are doing so based on the quality of their content. The sales adage that people buy what they trust has never been more on the mark. I am proud of our staff and the longstanding reputation that Roast has as a go-to resource in the coffee business. However, it is always gratifying to have independent recognition, and I am proud to announce that this year we earned another industry accolade for one of our articles. Roast recently won a Maggie Award for Best Signed Essay for the November/December 2018 article “Strong Black Coffee,” by Phyllis Johnson.
Strong content is vital to a publication’s success. By the same token, stagnant ideas and design can be deadly for a magazine. Consumers want focused content paired with high visual impact. If you are curious what look is driving interest in publications, page through Folklore, a magazine that’s saturated with upscale photos, journalism and sophistication, or Kinfolk, which has been called “the Velvet Underground of publishing.” These are the inspirations that are driving an upcoming redesign of Roast as we continue our quest to be a rock-solid industry voice paired with world-class visual design.
Finally, successful magazine publications are no longer solely printed magazines. They must have a complete cache of print products (magazines and books), social media platforms, online content and real-world events that support their brand concept. The Book of Roast, Daily Coffee News and the upcoming Roast Summit all contribute to the success of Roast Magazine. We are proud of how far we have come, we are excited to continue to innovate and grow, and we are thankful for our readers’ support over the many years we have been publishing Roast.