Magazines and Newspapers
From Pop Goes the Library
The Christian Science Monitor, http://www.csmonitor.com This is not a religious paper, but a paper owned by a church. There’s a significant difference, and the Monitor’s fair, intelligent coverage of international and national (U.S.) topics is very well regarded.
Chronicle of Higher Education, http://chronicle.com If you’re in academia, you are already reading the Chronicle, but it’s something to consider if you work within education at all, and particularly if you work with older teens.
The Comics Journal, http://www.tcj.com Comics are a unique blend of words and art, which combine to create powerful, engrossing, and plain old entertaining stories. The Comics Journal takes an “arts-first perspective.”
Entertainment Weekly, http://www.ew.com With its weekly round-up of music, television, movies, books, and DVD releases, this is the one-stop shop for general pop coverage, and for tracking the Next Big Things.
Giant Robot, http://www.giantrobot.com This guide to Asian-American culture started as a self-published zine, and even though it’s graduated to a large, glossy format, it stillretains that labor of love feel that makes it so appealing. Essential for communities serving large Asian-American populations, particularly for those patrons who may have outgrown Shonen Jump and Shojo Beat.
ICv2 Guide to Manga, Anime and Gaming, http://www.icv2.com These guides take you “inside pop culture,” aiming to provide you with a “one-stop resource on graphic novels, anime and manga, and games.” Many graphic novel-loving librarians review for this journal.
J-14, http://j-14.hollywood.com When thinking magazines for teens, don’t start and stop with Seventeen. J-14 is a pop culture magazine for and about teens, with gossip on the latest teen celebrities, horoscopes, and fashion.
Local Daily Newspapers and Local Weekly Alternative Newspapers Nothing beats local news sources for community-based trendspotting and program idea-generating.
Magnet, http://www.magnetmagazine.com This quarterly bills itself as a home for “real musical alternatives,” and it lives splendidly up to that promise, covering musicians whose work is rarely covered by mainstream magazines like Rolling Stone or SPIN.
Metal Edge, http://www.metaledgemag.com Do you have patrons who love heavy metal and hard rock? This is the magazine to get for them. (Or, to explain to all those Supernatural fans: This is Dean Winchester’s music magazine of choice.)
Mojo, http://www.mojo4music.com This British music magazine focuses on classic and roots rock; in their own words, “we like to think it’s the music magazine you go to when you’ve grown out of all the others.”
New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com The New York Times is the national paper of record. You can disagree with its liberal bent, but you should still read it.
Oprah, http://www.oprah.com Oprah’s influence cannot be overstated; we all know that from the wild popularity of even the most obscure of her Book Club picks. Her magazine features those things Oprah is interested and believes her viewers are interested in, from friendships to family, worklife to makeup, and recipes to health issues.
People, http://www.people.com People walks a fine line by featuring not only celebrity gossip (less pruriently than, say Us or OK!, but still …) but it also features regular folks who are in the news because they have adopted 20-plus children or started a food bank at age seven. This is the gossip magazine for people who don’t want to admit they are reading gossip.
UPDATE: PiQ magazine ended publication with its July issue, as reported by ICv2.com in June.
PiQ, http://www.piqmag.com To be perfectly honest, we’re not sure how essential this magazine is, or how long it will last—at publication, this replacement for NewTypeUSA was just two issues old. Unlike NewType, PiQ doesn’t come with glossy posters or preview DVDs, and it doesn’t seem to be for hardcore anime and manga fans anymore, either. However, it does have an excellent, frequently updated website, and the editors seem to be working hard to make the magazine what their readers are looking for. Keep an eye on this one.
Rolling Stone, http://www.rollingstone.com Founded in 1967, this American classic inspired the Shel Silverstein song “The Cover of the Rolling Stone” (featured a capella in former Rolling Stone writer Cameron Crowe’s film Almost Famous). Don’t stop at the cover, though—over the years, Rolling Stone has published in-depth articles on politics, the environment, and pop culture beyond the music business.
Shojo Beat, http://www.shojobeat.com Shojo manga are drawn with a female audience in mind (shojo means “girl” in Japanese), and they focus primarily on humorous, romantic stories. Shojo Beat covers not only manga, but also trends in publishing, fashion, and culture for shojo readers.
Shonen Jump, http://www.shonenjump.com Like its sister publication Shojo Beat, Shonen Jump is aimed at a specific audience: readers and fans of shonen, or “boy” manga. These stories are often more action-based than shojo manga. Shonen Jump serializes shonen manga, offers sneak peeks at different stories, and covers gaming as well.
SPIN, http://www.spin.com SPIN covers pop music in every sense of the phrase—everything from Panic at the Disco to Jay-Z, Lupe Fiasco to Morrissey, and everything in between.
TV Guide, http://www.tvguide.com This weekly guide to television viewing includes articles on TV stars and shows. Remember Frank Constanza’s prized TV Guide collection on Seinfeld? With increased online competition in the weekly guide market, this title has been reinventing itself in both content and format, so it is once more (if you’ll forgive the atrocious pun) one to watch. (Thank you! We’ll be here all week! Tip your waitress!)
Us Weekly, http://www.usmagazine.com For those who want dirtier celebrity news than People’s “keep it nice, keep it positive” approach affords, Us Weekly offers dishy tabloid news.
Variety, http://www.variety.com For information on the entertainment industry, particularly the film industry, this daily has no peer.
VIBE, http://www.vibe.com Founded by Quincy Jones in 1993, VIBE covers urban music and culture. The magazine’s frequent “Best of” and “Essential” lists are terrific collection development resources.
Wall Street Journal, http://online.wsj.com/public/us The Wall Street Journal is essential reading for those working with people who deal with money matters. In other words, for everyone.