Chicago Tribune's Top 50 Magazines
June 12, 2003 8:17 AM   Subscribe

Chicago Tribune's Top 50 Magazines (might require registration, sorry) Not sure if I agree with anyone in the top 50. I mean People? Let's be serious; if you're going to put People in a "Top 50 List" then TV Guide should be right after People. What I do agree with is the list of "Mags Gone Bad:" Newsweek - So unnewsworthy. Playboy - Gone are the days of great journalism. Now it's like looking through a catalog written by crumb ass writers. Premiere - Was it really ever that good, aside from a David Foster Wallace article here and there? Rolling Stone - Again, if it wasn't for the half-cocked rambling os Hunster S. Thompson this magazine would be total tripe. Spin - See Premiere but without the David Foster Wallace articles. Vanity Fair - Maybe a nice cover or two, but not much else to celebrate.
posted by bivouac (29 comments total)
I think the top magazine should be "Smells Like Teen Spirit."

I would have been more on-topic, but I didn't want to register to find out the full contents of the list.
posted by soyjoy at 8:20 AM on June 12, 2003

1) Cook's Illustrated.
2) The New Yorker.
3) Martha Stewart Living.
4) Sports Illustrated.
5) People.
6) Wooden Boat.
7) Q and Mojo (tie).
9) Entertainment Weekly.
10) Esquire.
11) Vogue.
12) Atlantic Monthly.
13) Fine Homebuilding.
14) Texas Monthly.
15) New York.
16) Time.
17) Smithsonian.
18) FHM.
19) Washington Monthly.
20) Details.
21) Reason.
22) Consumer Reports.
23) Essence.
24) US Weekly.
25) Family Fun.
26) American History.
27) Saveur.
28) Granta.
29) Sound on Sound.
30) Dwell.
31) Harper's.
32) BusinessWeek.
33) Sport Compact Car.
34) Outside.
35) The New Republic.
36) The Christian Century and America (tie).
38) American Bungalow.
39) National Geographic.
40) Fortune.
41) Creativity.
42) ToyFare.
43) Soccer America.
44) Field & Stream.
45) Metropolis.
46) Vegetarian Times.
47) The Week.
48) Trains.
49) Wizard.
50) Yoga Journal.
posted by bivouac at 8:28 AM on June 12, 2003

I'm glad Yoga Journal just scraped in. It remains the only magazine I have ever consistently read cover to cover since the demise of my beloved Option.
posted by archimago at 8:31 AM on June 12, 2003

Vegetarian Times is in the top 50? Whoa.

/Former VT writer/editor who knows quite a lot about the magazine's practices that would upset a lot of vegetarians and vegans.
posted by emelenjr at 8:36 AM on June 12, 2003

/Former VT writer/editor who knows quite a lot about the magazine's practices that would upset a lot of vegetarians and vegans.

Is it printed in blood on cows?
posted by thirteen at 8:41 AM on June 12, 2003

The New Yorker #2? Maybe in the days before editor David Remnick turned into a sycophantic mouth-piece of the "War on Terror." (The Nation has a good piece on how and where the New Yorker went wrong in the aftermath of 9/11.)
posted by mapalm at 8:49 AM on June 12, 2003

As a former SPIN staff writer, I'd be offended if it even made the top 500.
posted by adamgreenfield at 8:51 AM on June 12, 2003

Could we please at least provide a "link password" for these kind of links? Or at least note that some sort of registration is required.
posted by dgaicun at 8:53 AM on June 12, 2003

No Utne Reader -- i quote Nelson Munz, "HAH-ha!" but also, where's The Sun? :(

as for Spin, i have to give props to Jonathan Bernstein, he helped me get through high school with a recommended daily allowance of snark.
posted by serafinapekkala at 8:54 AM on June 12, 2003

Also any list that includes FHM but not Scientific American or Art Forum is not worth trusting
posted by dgaicun at 8:55 AM on June 12, 2003

Registration being needed is noted. And good ol' "cpunks/cpunks" worked for me.

On topic- No Economist? Wha?
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 8:56 AM on June 12, 2003

No, thirteen, nothing that sinister. But let's just say longtime readers might be surprised at how far they would have to drill down on the masthead to find a vegetarian on the new (as of Jan. 2002) staff. I won't name names here. Anyone interested in more info can contact me personally.
FWIW I'm not a vegetarian either, and diet preferences weren't a factor in hiring decisions by Sabot Publishing. But the previous VT staffers were, I believe, all fairly hardcore environmentally aware vegetarians.
posted by emelenjr at 9:02 AM on June 12, 2003

On topic- No Economist? Wha?

That was my reaction too, PST. Also, how is National Geographic not in the top 5 or 10? Are you really going to tell me that FHM (Which is basically nothing more than a Maxim ripoff, IIRC) or Sport Compact Car are better magazines than one of the classics of all time?
posted by Ufez Jones at 9:02 AM on June 12, 2003

Hooray! Cooks Illustrated! truely deserving of the top spot. I'd throw Wire in there as well.
posted by corpse at 9:05 AM on June 12, 2003

Cooks Illustrated. Christopher Kimball and his team of left brain foodies long ago began to annoy me with their ridiculous culinary scientism. I see why some might dig it, but I canceled my subscription years ago. Yet they continue to send me issue after issue.
Anybody out there who's receiving an unwanted/unaccounted subscription to The Wire should have their people get in touch with my people.
posted by sj at 9:31 AM on June 12, 2003

After seeing that top 5, I'll still stick with "Smells Like Teen Spirit." (Yes, The New Yorker has been torpedoed by Remnick, but it's still worthy of, say, the top 10.)

Thanks for the tipoff, emelenjr. Not surprising to hear how few staffers at VT give a rat's ass about vegetarianism, much less veganism. No offense to any current or former employees, but it's been obvious for a while that the mag's target audience is trendy yuppies who want something different to serve at a particular party.
posted by soyjoy at 9:55 AM on June 12, 2003

I noticed the list is based on magazines that the Tribune's staffers read, so I think the list says more about the Tribune than it does about the magazines.
posted by TedW at 9:58 AM on June 12, 2003

What, No Hustler? Sorry can't take the list seriously.
posted by jonmc at 10:11 AM on June 12, 2003

McSweeny's was robbed.
posted by kfury at 10:25 AM on June 12, 2003

If you want to see which magazines the industry itself thinks are the best, here's a list of the American Society of Magazine Editors' 2003 award winners. Note that these awards are given to magazines for specific issues and also specific stories.
posted by pitchblende at 10:46 AM on June 12, 2003

Go Trains!

kfury - I think there are a lot of literary mags that would have been better choices than McSweeney's - mags with a broader appeal, more consistent content, and less McSweeneysness to them. It would have been nice to see more lit/art/railroading mags represented, though.
posted by drobot at 11:03 AM on June 12, 2003

I really, really miss "Brill's Content" and "Spy." The only two magazines that I have ever truly *loved*.

Ah, least I still have The Weekly Standard.

And to call TV Guide a "magazine" is an insult. It's a frickin' TV GUIDE -- it tells you what shows are on TV. A few fluff pieces does not a magazine make. And speaking of TV Guide...what the hell are movies & music doing on the cover in recent years? Isn't it supposed to be about, you know...TV?
posted by davidmsc at 11:50 AM on June 12, 2003

They deliberately left The Economist out, methinks, so the list is slanted and therefore has zero relevance. Also no Scientific American, no Foreign Policy, no Foreign Affairs, no Comics Journal, no Wired, no Wallpaper*etc etc.
posted by 111 at 12:32 PM on June 12, 2003

I'm not a Texan, and I get Texas Monthly. It's that good.

Esquire, for all of 7.97 a year, is not worth it. I feel sleazy just reading it. It's like it's written for the leering old man who wants to still feel hip.

I want to like Comics Journal, but man, is it pompous.

Heh. ToyFare rocks. Twisted ToyFare is brilliant.

I go back and forth on Vanity Fair--some months, not one thing in it is worth reading, other months, there are 4 or 5 great stories.

And count me as another one who mourns SPY, and has a ton of old issues in my basement.
posted by GaelFC at 1:04 PM on June 12, 2003

Damn. I was going to do my own "Best of...." :

"The top 100 species of the last billion years", or perhaps "The 50 best things of all time" - But there have been so many "Best of..." posts lately.
posted by troutfishing at 1:38 PM on June 12, 2003

First off, if you want to access the article w/o registering, use lackacct/freefood.

Secondly, yeah the list is clearly nothing more than the Tribune staff's favorite magazines, so you have to take it with a grain of salt. I mean, US? Why not just put the National Enquirer on there?

That said, I'm glad to see Q get recognized. It's seriously worth the $8 or whatever you have to pay for an issue. I think it's telling that the only music magazines on the list are not American. (And owned by the same company, apparently.)
posted by zedzebedia at 1:45 PM on June 12, 2003

I would've expected WIRED to be on that list.
posted by antoine_bugleboy at 3:39 PM on June 12, 2003

As a magazine junkie, I would have liked to see these on the list:
Mental Floss
posted by sparky at 4:05 PM on June 12, 2003

Where's Adbusters?

Or even Wired? Granted, in its post-Conde Nast-takeover incarnation it is mostly about money, but it's still the best magazine for tech junkies, and they hold a stable of great writers who manage to put a philosophical spin on the driest of topics, which is what makes it worthwhile for me.
posted by gentle at 9:46 PM on June 12, 2003

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